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Huge spur for agri sector

Jul 15, 2010 8:00:00 PM - aussieindolanka.com
The Government reiterating its unstinted commitment to uplift the agricultural sector yesterday allocated Rs 3 billion to purchase paddy from farmers during the Yala season. This is the first time that a Government has set a part such a colossal amount of money to purchase paddy in one season. According to Trade, Consumer Affairs and Cooperative Development Minister Johnston Fernando, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has assured sufficient funds for the paddy purchase during the ensuing Yala season. Minister Fernando told the Daily News that some farmers started hiding their paddy stocks in the Maha season expecting better prices when a kilo of rice went down in the open market during the last few weeks. He said the Paddy Marketing Board (PMB) will purchase such stocks from the farmers too. "The Yala season starts at end of July. But we will purchase the Maha stock hidden by some farmers too," he added. The Minister added that the two State banks released loans to the tune of Rs. 1 billion each for the purchase of paddy and the Treasury will also allocate funds for paddy purchases. Meanwhile , the Bank of Ceylon in a statement yesterday said the Bank has advanced Rs. 1 billion to the PMB to purchase paddy from farmers in the next Yala harvesting season. www.dailynews.lk/2010/07/16/news01.asp