The Cabinet paper proposing to import 100,000 metric tonnes of rice tabled by Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardena was approved yesterday (21). The Opposition questioned in Parliament as to why rice is being imported in the government's claim that there is a surplus of rice.
In response, Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage stated that the decision to import rice was made in prevention of the rice mafia, where local producers tend to hide stocks.
Countering, Opposition MP Thushara Indunil questioned the Minister whether these imported stocks of rice are also made of organic fertiliser, in the backdrop that chemical fertiliser is banned in Sri Lanka. Responding, Aluthgamage said that it is irrelevant whether the rice stocks are made of organic fertiliser or else.
Emphasising that chemical fertiliser is already being used in local paddy cultivation and organic fertiliser will be used in the next Yala Season, the Minister suggested that it would not be relevant whether the rice stocks imported up that point are made of chemical fertiliser.