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President tells officials “be ready to issue stocks if rice prices rise”

Nov 3, 2010 11:09:28 AM - itnnews.lk

President Rajapaksa has emphasized the need for the identification of local needs and capabilities in the promotion of food crops. He laid this emphasis addressing the Food Security and Cost of Living Committee meeting at Temple Trees.

There should be proper management of the lands possessed by the nation and the quantity of other resources in the implementation of the Government’s programme to make the country self sufficient in food. It should be identified as to what priority the Government should give. This will help to achieve enhanced benefits. Inflation decelerated to a considerable extent during the last five-year period. The Government has succeeded in maintaining it at six percent.

Special initiatives were taken to supply coconut at the rate of 25 rupees per nut via Cooperatives and Lak Sathosa outlets to control the extraordinary price increase. It was agreed at this meeting to provide coconuts with the contribution of the CWE and directly with the mediation of the Ministry of Cooperatives and Marketing Development through state owned plantation companies. The Government has granted tax concessions to bring down the prices of potatoes and onions, specially targeting the festive season. It was proposed to import 6000 metric tons of onions and potatoes making optimum use of this situation.

The Government also possessed sufficient stocks of rice for the next three months. The President instructed the officials to be geared to release government stocks in case there was a hike in the price of rice. He also told the officials to be vigilant on middlemen who influence vegetable suppliers. He called on the Trade Minister to immediately formulate proposals to be submitted to the Cabinet on making safer packing mandatory in the transport of vegetables. Several Parliamentarians were present.