The Secretary to the President Dr. P. B. Jayasundara instructed the Consumer Affairs Authority to immediately launch an investigation on attempts to create an artificial scarcity of maize despite the availability of adequate stocks.
It had been revealed that intermediaries who gain unreasonable profit through trading of maize are behind this sinister attempt. Information has been received that their motive is to increase the price of chicken by creating a non-existing scarcity during the upcoming festival season.
The necessity to defeat this move in order to protect the farmer as well as the consumer was emphasized during a meeting held at the Presidential Secretariat today (11) with the participation of representatives of maize farmer associations and officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Authority.
During this season, maize was cultivated on 70,000 acres and the harvest yielded was 300.000 metric tons. This amount has not reached the market yet. The minimum price to be paid to the farmer is Rs. 50 per kg. The maximum selling price is Rs. 55 per kg.
The government has implemented a systematic programme to protect the farmer as well as the consumer while developing maize cultivation. The importation of maize was halted recently. No further imports in the future too. The government has planned to cultivate maize in all the lands identified by the Ministry of Agriculture. The annual production of maize is expected to increase to 800,000 MT. State banks will provide loan facilities to large scale maize farmers.
The government has also decided to maintain the maximum price of 1 kg of chicken at Rs.430 during the upcoming festival season.
The annual demand for maize, including production of animal feeds, is 4, 50,000 metric tons. In the year 2018, 133,128 metric tons were imported. The import expenditure was Rs. 6,718 million. During the meeting it was revealed that up to October last year 87,109 metric tons were imported and the amount spent in this regard was 4,846 million rupees.