Ample stocks of food and essential commodities for the New Year

Friday, 1 April 2011 01:37 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Shezna Shums

The Ministry of Cooperatives and Internal Trade assures the public that there would be ample stocks of food and other essential commodities available at reasonable prices for the public to celebrate the coming New Year season.

“We have enough stocks of all commodities for three months and they will be available at Lak Sathosa outlets as well as in the open market,” said Sunil S. Sirisena, Secretary, Ministry of Cooperatives and Internal Trade.

Sirisena encouraged the public to make their purchases at government economic centres, government corporate outlets and Lak Sathosa outlets to benefit from the reasonable prices and quality products that will be available in plenty during the Sinhala New Year season.

In light of the relatively high cost of food at present, Sirisena noted that there were adequate stocks of rice and that the price of rice was even coming down further.

“The price of dhal, sugar, chillies and other dry rations have come down compared to the price that prevailed a month earlier,” Sirisena said.

He also pointed out that the prices of vegetables and fruits at the Dambulla economic centre were 50 percent lower than the prices prevalent in Colombo. “Plans are underway to bring down these vegetables and fruits to the Narahenpita economic centre and sell them at the same price as in Dambulla or even a bit higher during the festive season. May be we will be able to do this even after the New Year,” he assured.

However, Sirisena also said that normally the prices of fruits and vegetable at the Narahenpita economic centre were little higher compared to other economic centres, “The price of fruits and vegetables at the Narahenpita economic centre are higher than even the Manning market or Dambulla economic centre.

The Ministry of Cooperatives and Internal Trade is taking measures to bring down the prices of vegetables and fruits at the Dambulla economic centre to be on par with the other economic centres.

“Since there is no scarcity, there is no reason for the prices to increase,” guaranteed Sirisena.

“Even in the case of chicken adequate stocks are available and the wholesale price is between Rs. 265 to Rs. 285 a kilo. Therefore during the Sinhala New Year season chicken can be sold at a retail price of Rs. 320 a kilo. The price of eggs at the government economic centres is around Rs.10,” said he.  Following the heavy rain and floods in the country a month earlier, President Rajapaksa at a meeting with wholesalers and traders and advised that they should maintain enough stocks of dry ration to last at least three months to tide over any unforeseen emergency situations in the country.

Floods push inflation to 26-month high

AFP: Sri Lanka’s annual inflation rate climbed to 8.6 per cent in March, the highest in more than two years, due to shortages of food following massive flooding, official data showed Thursday.

The Census and Statistics Department said the Colombo Consumer Price Index rose to 8.6 per cent in March, the highest in 26 months.

Last month, year-on-year inflation stood at 7.8 per cent while the previous high was in January 2009 when it hit 10.7 per cent.

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka blamed floods in Sri Lanka’s northern and eastern regions for disrupting food supplies and stoking inflation.

The bank said it expects the food shortfall to ease after the traditional Sinhalese and Tamil New Year in April.

The bank has forecast the island nation’s inflation rate will be between six to seven per cent by the end of 2011.