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Sri Lanka makes rice milling an essential service in Covid curfew, New Year

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has declared rice milling to be an essential service to supplies of grain
flowing during a curfew imposed to fight the spread of Coronavirus which also coincides with a traditional New Year season.

Sri Lanka’s acting police chief has been asked by President’s Secretary P B Jayasunder to help small rice millers distribute rice within the divisional secretariat office and medium scale rice millers to distribute within their districts and large scale ones to distribute in the entire country.

However many rice mills in the East and north central and north western regions used to truck rice to traders in Colombo, industry sources say.

Wholesale traders say that mills close after April 10 for traditional New Year holidays and rice deliveries stop. In normal times people also go on holiday and do not buy goods until after the New Year auspicious time are over.

Sri Lanka is expected to have a good rice harvest in the Maha season of about 3 million metric tonnes.

“Accordingly, all the relevant parties have been told that increasing the rice prices or hampering the supply of rice pose a major impediment to the effective implementation of quarantine activities,” the President’s office said.

Pharmacies and banking are also essential services. (Colombo/Apr10/2020)

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