Farmers hawk their produce on roadsides as economic centres remain closed

Farmers hawk their produce on roadsides as economic centres remain closed

Farmers hawk their produce on roadsides as economic centres remain closed

Written by Staff Writer

11 Apr, 2020 | 3:05 pm

COLOMBO (News1st): Sri Lankan farmers have been struck by a double whammy – due to the decision to shut down economic centres and the inability to sell produce at a good rate.

This week, authorities ordered economic centres to be closed down in a bid to prevent public gatherings and to curb the spread of COVID – 19.

As a result, farmers who could sell their produce at economic centres mainly targeting wholesalers, have resorted to selling their goods at road sides and at public playgrounds.

“We cannot sell our goods as they don’t fetch a good price,” a farmer said. “Atleast the government must purchase vegetables from us.”

Around 2500 metric tonnes of vegetables are brought daily to the economic centre in Dambulla – some 156 kilometres away from capital Colombo, officials said.

“I have cultivated vegetables across three acres of land by obtaining loans to financially support it. We are now helpless,” another farmer in Dambulla complained.

Farmers complain that produce is purchased at extremely low rates from them, and later sold at exorbitant prices in the market.

“…vegetables are purchased at around Rs 15 and are being sold at five times this rate in other parts of the country,” Sunil Seneviratne, the President of the Tambuttegama Economic Centre said.

He added that the “mafia” involved in such unethical activities should be severely punished as farmers are affected due to the conduct of such people.

“If the farmer is not being protected the country will not have a future.”

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