Nevertheless, he affirmed that farmers are even unable to sell their harvest at the government stipulated price. Karunaratne charged the government of manipulating the rice market in order to safeguard the interests of several Ministers involved in the rice trade.
He explained that the country's annual paddy production is around 6.5 million metric tons and of the entire production the government purchases only 3 percent. The farmers, therefore, are forced to sell their stocks to the intermediate traders, he lamented.
According to Karunaratne, the government has neither constructed adequate storage facilities for the paddy nor have they appointed competent officials to purchase the paddy stocks from the farmers and allocate adequate funds. He noted that the government has calculated that a farmer incurs a production cost of Rs. 31 per kilo of paddy.