* Sri Lanka Marxist party to commence aggressive campaign for higher paddy price

Feb 25, Colombo: All Ceylon Framers’ Federation affiliated to Sri Lanka’s Marxist party Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) plans to commence an aggressive island wide campaign to demand the government to increase the certified price of a kilo of paddy to Rs. 40.

The Federation last week organized a protest campaign with the participation of farmers from the Minipe Agriculture Project in the Wilgamuwa town in the Matale District.

National Organizer of the Federation, Namal Karunaratne told ColomboPage that an island wide poster campaign would be launched from today.

“We will rally the paddy farmers in all the districts and carry out agitation campaigns at district level, which would culminate in a national level agitation campaign,” he said.

He added that a majority of the farmers sold their paddy for amounts far less than the certified price.

Meanwhile, the government maintains that it is unable to increase the purchasing price of a kilo of paddy. A kilo of Nadu paddy is priced at Rs. 28 and Samba at Rs. 30.

Cooperatives and Internal Trade Ministry Secretary, Sunil S. Sirisena says that increasing the certified price of a kilo of paddy would result in the increase of rice prices.

“The government is trying to encourage people to consume more rice, but a price hike would push them away from it,” he observed.

He added that the government was already paying a high price for paddy.

The government has allocated Rs.2.2 billion to purchase paddy from farmers from the Maha harvest.

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