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Vegetable prices up, but quality down

a year ago

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  • Traders blame lack of fertilisers and pesticides
  • Say quality has dropped by as much as 75%
By Buddhika Samaraweera Vegetable traders claim that the prices of vegetables in economic centres islandwide have risen sharply, while their quality has significantly dropped in the absence of fertilisers and pesticides. Speaking to The Morning, a trader at the Peliyagoda Manning Market said that the prices of vegetables have gone up significantly in the last week alone, adding, however, that the quality of vegetables delivered to the market has dropped by as much as 75%. Claiming that the quality of vegetables, fruits, and other products had declined since the Government decided to ban the importation of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, he said that farmers cannot produce good-quality vegetables without fertilisers and pesticides. Meanwhile, traders at the Meegoda Dedicated Economic Centre also stated that the quality of vegetables they receive has dropped drastically, to the extent that consumers were not even buying them. According to data available on the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) website, as of last Friday (12), the wholesale price of a kilogramme (kg) of beans in the Manning Market was priced at Rs. 350, a kg of carrots at Rs. 225, a kg of cabbage at Rs. 130, a kg of tomatoes at Rs. 300, and a kg of eggplant at Rs. 150. The retail prices were Rs. 400 per kg of beans, Rs. 265 per kg of carrots, Rs. 200 per kg of cabbage, Rs. 350 per kg of tomatoes, and Rs. 200 per kg of eggplant. Meanwhile, The Morning last week reported that local seed producers have pointed out that sales of seeds of cereals and grains like paddy and maize, vegetables, and fruits have fallen sharply following the Government’s decision to ban the importation of chemical fertilisers and agrochemicals such as pesticides and herbicides/weedicides. When contacted by The Morning, CIC Agri Business (Pvt.) Ltd. Marketing Manager – Seeds Chirantha Rajapakse said that compared to previous years, there is a significant reduction in the sale of seeds. He noted that according to their latest data, the sale of seeds for vegetables has dropped by 25-75% this year, maize seeds by 50%, and seed paddy by 25-30%, compared to the previous years. “Among the seeds for vegetables, the sale of chilli, tomato, eggplant, and cabbage seeds, which are heavily susceptible to certain diseases, has declined by a drastic 75% compared to previous years,” he said. A proposal was submitted to the Cabinet by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in May 2021, banning the use and importation of chemical fertilisers, pesticides, and weedicides, and the same was granted approval, following which the relevant gazette notification was issued.

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