Paddy harvesting in the Yala season of 2018 has already commenced from the Eastern Province and accordingly, the Paddy Marketing Board has decided to start purchasing paddy harvest of these farmers first. The PMB expects to purchase 120,000 metric tons of paddy from this year's Yala season harvest.
Under the program, a kilogram of Nadu variety will be purchased at certified price of Rs.38 while a kilogram of samba will be purchased at Rs. 41. The Ministry of Finance and Planning has made arrangements to provide Rs.5.65 billion for this purpose. On the request of Minister of Agriculture Mahinda Amaraweera, the cabinet of ministers has approved Rs. 4.9 billion as necessary funds for the paddy purchases. The PMB will not only purchase the paddy this time, but also will distribute the rice prepared from the paddy purchases under the brand 'PMB Rice' to Lanka Sathosa outlets and other traders at concessionary prices. This is the first time the Paddy Marketing Board has taken such a step.
Meanwhile, the PMB will also provide the poly-pak bags free of charge to the farmers for packaging of paddy. Also this time the farmers do not need to present documents from Agricultural Research Product Development Assistants to prove their identity. The PMB also requests farmers to reserve the date in advance from the nearest paddy purchasing centers in order to overcome the congestion encountered in selling their crop.