By Thisari Walawege
In about a fortnight, the prices of vegetables and rice would decrease to an affordable level, State Minister of Internal Trade and Consumer Welfare, Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said yesterday. He told a media conference held at the Prime Minister’s office that the unreasonably high prices of vegetables and rice were due to a drop in the supply of such commodities in the market from a reduced yield resulting from the heavy rains in the recent past.
The state minister said we are expecting a bountiful harvest with the resulting supply of rice and vegetables returning to normal and the prices more affordable. He said another reason for the high prices was the action of the middlemen who create an artificial price increase. “The Consumer Affairs Authority has found out that there were about 42,000 middlemen and we plan to take legal action against 700 of the worst offenders,” the state minister said adding that the increased price of big onions was due to a shortfall in the import of onions from India.
He said India was our major supplier of onions but due to bad climatic conditions there, the yield was much less than expected. Meanwhile, the state minister said the price of canned fish, dry fish and sugar had been high but we expect the prices of many essential goods to drop by March or April. He said though the prices of 3,175 essential commodities were to be reduced because of the tax concessions, the prices of 2,621 essential commodities had already been reduced.