The transportation of fresh vegetables will be regulated by the Government to minimise losses incurred during the time the produce leaves the farm and reaches the final consumer, with a new storage system being introduced.
Minister of Cooperatives and Internal Trade Johnston Fernando addressing a press conference yesterday said that the move was being adopted in an effort to cut down on the final cost of the product, which is heightened by the losses incurred during transportation of fresh produce.
“In order to reduce wastage costs incurred by traders, all persons involved in this industry will have to ensure proper storage methods,” the Minister asserted.
According to the gazette notification, the Consumer Affairs Authority directs all producers, transporters, distributors and traders of locally produced vegetables and fruits to use containers made out of plastic, hard paper or wood at the time of plucking, collecting, storing, transporting displaying and offering for sale locally produced vegetables and fruits with immediate effect and that the maximum net weight of the vegetables or fruits per box should not exceed 25 kilos.
The new storage regulations will be in effect from the time the vegetables and fruits are harvested or plucked by the farmers.
In addition, when the fruits and vegetables are being transported for sale, they will still have to remain in such boxes and traders too will have to keep the vegetable in the stipulated storage boxes to ensure that the least amount of wastage is incurred.
Persons not transporting the fresh produce in such boxes may be fined or arrested.
It was also highlighted that 90,000 plastic boxes had already been issued for this purpose and that more plastic boxes would be available at the Dambulla Economic Centre.
Each box can only hold a maximum of 25 kilos of fruits or vegetables.
Red onions to be imported
The Ministry of Cooperatives and Internal Trade will import red onions to meet the local markets demand for red onions.
Last week’s floods damaged red onion crops in Sri Lanka and the Government is making the imports in order to meet local demand for red onions as well as keep prices in the local market stable.