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Rice not a problem for now

Feb 12, 2011 1:50:54 PM - thesundayleader.lk
  • Less Veggies, But No Imports

By Maryam Azwer

Recent weather conditions, with the floods added to it, have brought about a shortage of vegetables, but the Ministry of Cooperatives and Internal Trade will not import vegetables, said Ministry Secretary, Sunil S. Sirisena.
“There is a shortage of vegetables, but Sri Lankans will have to cope with alternatives,” said Sirisena, adding that they did not want to “destroy local production” by increasing imports.
Elaborating on these ‘alternatives’, he said that the prices of local potatoes had come down and could be substituted for some vegetables.
He also explained that the Ministry of Agriculture had initiated a programme to encourage farmers to grow vegetables that would be ready to harvest within 45 – 50 days.
He said that the vegetables would be purchased from farmers via the cooperative network. “The farmers are actually very happy these days. We will see if consumers too can get a fair price,” said Sirisena.
Other food items are currently not a cause for much concern, he said. “I don’t think rice is going to be a problem, we have enough paddy, with us as well as with the farmers.”
Sirisena also said that organisations under the Ministry held stocks of a ‘reasonable amount’ of other food items, including sugar, dhal, chick-peas, dried chillies and tinned fish.