(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –The Presidential Task Force on Economic Revival and Poverty Alleviation, chaired by Minister Namal Rajapaksa, has decided to avoid inconvenience to consumers due to the arbitrary increase in prices of vegetables and fruits by certain traders.
The Presidential Task Force on Economic Recovery and Poverty Alleviation met Thursday at Temple Trees to discuss rising vegetable and fruit prices in the wake of the Covid epidemic.
It was suggested at this meeting to take steps to announce the wholesale and retail prices at the main economic centers and the Peliyagoda Manning Market during the main news broadcast in order to directly communicate to the public.
In addition, it was decided to instruct all mobile vendors and mobile outlets to display the prices of vegetables and fruits separately and to display prices and to prepare and distribute vegetable bags at Co-operative and Sathosa outlets to suit the economic level of the customers.
Duminda Priyadarshana, Senior Research Officer, Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute and Vice Chairman, Paddy Marketing Board, spoke on the rise in prices of vegetables, fruits and rice in the wake of the Coronavirus epidemic.
Accordingly, prices will be determined on the basis of supply and demand, he said, adding that the current prices are expected to come down in the future.
Minister Namal Rajapaksa said vegetables and fruits are being sold at high prices these days amidst the Covid situation. The prices are rising arbitrarily as no one regulates.
“The prices of vegetables and fruits that reach the consumer have increased abnormally. Alternatives must be found to control the rise in prices of these products to provide relief to both the farmer and the consumer.”
“If the prices of several vegetables and fruits continue to rise over a period of time each year, as a long-term measure, it is necessary to target the market, develop alternative products and devise a strategy to reduce their prices,” Minister Namal Rajapaksa said.
The Minister instructed the relevant departments to formulate a system to control the prices of vegetables and fruits sold at high prices within the next two weeks.
It was also proposed to set up small outlets in almost every city where there is a market demand for fruits and vegetables so that the farmer can sell his produce.
Minister Namal Rajapaksa pointed out that farmers can sell their produce there without intermediaries and consumers can also get fresh fruits and vegetables.
It was proposed to make the public aware of the prevailing wholesale prices through the media as a short term step that can be taken for the arbitrary price hikes.
The Minister instructed the Consumer Affairs Authority to take appropriate action regarding the licenses of traders who sell in excess of the daily quoted prices allowing the consumer to complain about prices on social media networks.
It was also agreed to take steps to provide the Pledge Loan to also medium sized paddy mill owners when purchasing paddy and to allow the wholesalers of eggs and poultry to remain open on the opening days of economic centers.
State Ministers Shehan Semasinghe and Shasheendra Rajapaksa and Secretaries and officials of the Ministries working with the Presidential Task Force on Trade, Economic Revival and Poverty Alleviation were also present on the occasion