The Ministry of Cooperatives and Internal Trade along with the Consumer Affairs Authority had conducted 490 raids on shops that sell rice over the government ceiling price and hoarding excess amount of rice stocks.
A total of Rs 1.2 million by way of fines has been collected following fines imposed by the Courts on traders for either over pricing rice or hoarding excess stocks.
The CAA has given notice to traders and wholesalers that the rice price should not exceed the government ceiling price especially at the present time when the rains that destroyed paddy lands and crops creating a fear among the people that the rice price too will see a spiralling increase. Minister Johnston also spoke about the use of plastic boxes. He said that this move was made to reduce the amount of wastage of fruits and vegetables.
Between 25 to 40 percent of the fresh fruits and vegetables is lost due to improper storage and transportation. 400,000 plastic boxes have been ordered by the government for this purpose, and the Ministry will also sell these plastic boxes from two stalls at the Dambulla Economic Centre at a reasonable price.
In addition the President has instructed that further time be given to these traders, wholesalers, distributors and farmers to buy plastic boxes for their use. The President has ordered that the deadline for everyone to use plastic boxes now be 1 March to accommodate the demand for these boxes.
“The Ministry wants to protect the farmers and work with them and we are working towards this objective,” stated the Minister.