By Shezna Shums
The Ministry of Internal Trade and Cooperatives intends to establish cold rooms at major economic centres to reduce the amount of vegetables and fruits that is wasted when there is a surplus of fresh produce.
An official from the Ministry said that following the Sinhala New Year holidays, over 70,000 kilos of vegetables and fruits had to be discarded during this week.
The establishment of cold rooms is still in the planning stage and other details regarding this new addition of cold rooms were not available.
During the Sinhala New Year holidays, farmers who had harvested their crops of vegetables and fruits had brought them to the Dambulla economic centre, however the number of buyers had been much lower just after the holidays, which resulted in a large supply of vegetables and fruits going to waste.
Even a few days after the Sinhala New Year there were very few buyers for the vegetables and fruits, which further added to the excess stocks of fresh produce.
The official added that cold rooms would help in the future when there were excess vegetables and fruits that have to be stored for a while. Most of the excess stocks were of low country grown vegetables and fruits.
Meanwhile, even at the Manning Market in Colombo there were reports of excess stocks of vegetables and fruits after the Sinhala New Year holidays.
In another development, regarding the price hike of a loaf of bread, the Ministry of Internal Trade and Cooperatives is to take measures to ensure that bakeries and other outlets selling bread do not sell a loaf of bread weighing less than 450 grammes.
Earlier this week the All Ceylon Bakery Owners Association decided to increase the cost of a loaf of bread by Rs. 2.
Although flour companies have to seek permission from the Consumer Affairs Authority with regard to the revision of prices, bread prices do not come under the purview of the CAA.