“RICE – THE HEALTHY AND STABLE FOOD OF THE NATION AT RS.66.00”
Posted on February 4th, 2017

Sarath Wijesinghe Former Chairman Consumer Affairs Authority, former Ambassador UAE and Israel

Concept of price control and regulation

It is reported that the price of rice is to be declared as Rs 66.00, apparently to be implemented through the network of the CAA officers attached to the organisation. There may be about 200 officers to implement this thorough the country of 2.3 million and the network of traders round the country. Is it possible and practicable to implement is a moot issue, and the mode of implementation is still difficult considering the different kinds of rice on the market with different prizes and flavours. While indorsing the good intentions of the issue it is the duty of the concerned citizens to point out the practical difficulties, on the process of implementation. CAA has not been successful on implementation of the maximum prices of other items declared under the S18 of the CAA. There is no system of price control in Sri Lanka as before the implementation of the CAA enforced by act no 9 of 2003. There is rampant bribery and corruption by successive governments which increases the ultimate price in the hands of the middle man and corrupt officials. Farmer is exploited giving the profit to the paddy mafia and the corrupt officials supported by politicians. Will this attempt even though partially successful would bring the cost of living is a million dollar question when the prices of every other item are expensive and out of reach to the consumer.

Junk Food, Obesity and Cola Drinks

Rice is the main stable food which is healthier than the next popular alternate- bread- available in abundance to the citizen draining away the much needed foreign currency for the import of flour. Bread is unhealthy and catalyses adiabatic, obesity and many other completions based on bad food habits in Sri Lanka, when diabetes, obesity and connected complications leads to kidney, heart diseases which are spreading fast. Unless urgent steps are taken, Current 27% of dieback population would reach 50% in 2020, leading to many other connected non communicable diseases with many victims from the future generation used to unhealthy junk food and cola drinks fast spreading. Ilford County in the United Kingdom has banned Junk food outlets in the vicinity of schools and the schools have been warned to avoid junk food in the lunch menu .CAA mooted popularization of rice as the main food, make bread out of rice floor, and to make fast food from rice flour. It is a good idea for the CAA to continue the affects further, in view of the shortage of food and spread of non-communicable diseases. Unfortunately the consumption of flour related food is increasing due to convenience for the preparation and ferocious marketing strategies of fast food which has engulfed

the nation with unhealthy cola drinks threatening the health of the nation including the future generation addicted to junk food and thriving food chains. Readers are requested to read the article by the writer on junk food in the worldwide net.

Granary of Asia

Sri Lanka was named Granary of Asia by writers and visitors then,(as the most fertile and main food store) with self-sufficient in rice with the amazing and unique network of water system which has surprised the worldwide agriculturists and water experts even today. Water network that flows to all corners of agricultural network with the network of water streams connection the network of 196 rivers and large and small tanks starting from the from the wet hill country with 80% thickness of forest with large and small reservations of lakes ruining through large towns and small villages for cultivation. Unfortunately the forest thickness has now dwindled down to 28% with disastrous effects on water due to man-made destructions on the environment. After the invasion of Portuguese initially in 1505 to the Maritime Provinces, and other invaders thereafter, the food pattern of the nation was changed and disturbed to bead and fast food which are unhealthy, transforming the most health nation to a sick nation. Thick valuable forest considered to be of best vegetation in Asia was raped and cleared for commercial plantation damaging the top layer of the most fertile soil, allowing it to flow to the sea with the most fertile ingredients. Therefore popularization of rice by providing it at a reasonable prize will be of multiple benefits and advantages to the nation economically to prevent draining of most needed foreign exchange and the nation to be healthy as before. Reactivation of paddy cultivation has many barriers due to deforestation, scarcity of water, want of fertilizer, shortage of famers whose children resort to the modern way of easy life. Lack of knowledge or enthusiasm on exploring new methods on agriculture which are successfully implemented ( especially paddy cultivation) in Vietnam, Indonesia, India, China and Israel (the emerging small but able leader of new technology and emerging most successful scientific agriculture nation utilizing 90% technology in agriculture) are role models for us to follow an implement. In fact Israel offered assistance to Sri Lank in agriculture and technology, in addition to the assistance on defence, which unfortunately Sri Lanka did not follow up. There were number of trade missions to and from Israel sponsored by the Embassies and Trade Associations of both countries results of which are now dormant. It is time Sri Lankan Embassy in Israel takes steps to reactivate the exchange of trade and technology process.

Main Regulator

CAA as the main regulator of consumer items could extend the parameter to organize the trader, manufacturer, Industrials, and the consumer to promote, rice, milk, and locally prepared consumer items to fulfil the aspirations of the CAA and the citizen, as has been done previously. Steps taken by the CAA could be retrieved on the worldwide web which is demonstrated in the consumer pages published weekly and the series of articles available.

Promotion of rice Based products

Promotion of rice and rice based products will lead the nation to a country free from non-communicable diseases due to incorrect eating hobbits. The best way to beat cost of living and lead the next generation in the path of healthy living is to educate them to live with nature, without damaging and districting the nature, by deforestation, garbage dumping, damage to the soil and

environment you live in, and various other ways and means. The best and only method to do this is by educating the masses through consumer associations, NGOs, and the social media which h is fast growing toady.

Learn from Japan

We can learn from Japan coming up with innovative methods to popularise rice based food as fast food in the changing and fast society which is followed by many other countries. Packaging, storing, and making rice based items could be researched the Sri Lanka research institute with the batters of exerts and Scientifics idling or doing other traditional duties with no proper aim or guidance.

Way forward for health and prosperity

It is time for the Food, Agriculture, Consumer, Finance, and Media Ministries to launch concerted efforts on this direction with the help and guidance of the friends and experts in Sri Lanka and worldwide to give consumer the due place as other jurisdictions. The best day to launch is the world consumer day on 15th March when the entire world is celebrating the world consumer day for the consumer with an annual theme Consumer in the Digital Age” and the writer invites you to read the articles on the theme in the world side net. This year the CAA and the IPS will celebrate the day of the consumers to give strength in organizing as a group still not considered powerful and strong as in the west. Rice and prices of all other consumer items will be stabilized once the consumer is well organized.

Writer could be reached on [email protected]

4 Responses to ““RICE – THE HEALTHY AND STABLE FOOD OF THE NATION AT RS.66.00””

  1. Christie Says:

    Eat Thosai and Masala and Thosa wadei

  2. Ananda-USA Says:

    I’ll believe in the Rs. 66/ kg rice when I can buy it at that price.

    I have just bought and distributed “Nadubath” rice to drought-affected people at Rs. 92/kg, together with parippu and hal-masso karawala!

    Basmathi rice was selling at Rs 152/kg, but that is like telling people who don’t have bread to eat cake instead!

    Another thing that is greatly in need are large HDPE water storage tanka. 500 liter and 2000 liter tanks sell at Rs. 5600 and Rs 23,800, repectively. Even in semi-rural areas with pipe-borne water supplies, water is being supplied only for a couple of hours a day, so the ability ti store water is essential. A family of 4 needs a minimum of 75 gallons of water a day for all purposes.

  3. Ananda-USA Says:

    BTW, 1 gal = 3.875 liters, so 75 gal = 290 liters.

  4. Ananda-USA Says:

    Christie,

    Jokes aside, Masala wade’ and Mun-ata wade’ are very nutritious; and when accompanied by “white pol sambol” tastes great too!

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