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Sustainable solution to safe vegetable market in Sri Lanka

The Covid-19 has damaged entire market dynamic of the country. So therefore, Agriculture (vegetable) market is not exceptional from this challenge. There is no risk of food safety in Sri Lanka even in the future. But problem is transporting input into farmer’s fields and bringing back their production in to market.

Most of farmers are farming by targeting Sinhala and Tamil New Year of the Sri Lanka. Total cultivation area and the production also comparatively higher than the normal season. It is nearly 30% percent from the country average. Because that huge quantity of vegetable will come to the market and will cause to reduce the vegetable price in short-term. But immediately this condition will change after the New Year and will reduce vegetable supply to the market, price will increase in the month of May. Continuity of this condition will depend on how well we are solving the current distribution issue in vegetable market.

On the basis of production extent or the capacity where we have four categories of vegetable farmers

  1. Very small farmers- less than 1 Ac
  2. Small farmers -1Ac -5Ac of land extent
  3. Medium size farmer- 5Ac -10 Ac land extent
  4. Large scale farmers- more than 10 Ac

According to the Sri Lankan scenario, more than 60% of farmers are under very small category.  Very small and small farmers are contributing more than 90% of the total. Large scale farmers might be less than 1% of total vegetable farmer population in the country.

Vegetable collection and distribution of the country completely handled by the private sector. Government intervention on collection and distribution was negligible.

When consider the private distribution system was properly established in many years. There are village level collectors, medium level collectors and large scale collectors. All three types of collectors were strong enough to collect vegetables and distribute inputs within entire supply chain in country with accurate manner.

Therefore the private sector involvement in distribution of input in to the farmer’s filed and bringing back their harvest in to the market. So we have to initiate solution with the participation of public and private sector. Due to present curfew condition has stop or minimize private sector involvement in this supply chain. Government is trying to solving the problem with their capacities and capabilities. But this solution will not be sustained. Therefore risk to collapse this Chanel is very higher because government individually can’t be handled this issue.

As soon as possible, private and public sector should come to one table and initiate solution to safe the farmer in Sri Lanka.

If not ready to die without foods

 

Tharaka Jayasinghe

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Monday, 06 December 2021

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