Daily Mirror - Print Edition

Lime prices up but cultivators incur losses

14 May 2024 - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}      

By B.G. Chaturanga- Anuradhapura   

 Farmers in the Anuradhapura District who cultivated  lime are in a predicament for want of a remunerative market for their  produce, while the price of lime has skyrocketed in urban areas due to  the ongoing racket of the middleman.   

 The National Consumers’ Organisation Asela Sampath told  the media after attending a programme in Thalawa Divisional Secretariat  that the farmers were being exploited by the racketeers who purchased  their produce at very low prices.   

 “The wholesale purchase price of lime in Anuradhapura  area is Rs. 50.00 per kilo, but the current market price is Rs. 2,000.  Farmers are not harvesting their yield to avoid heavy losses. The yield  is left under the trees. Other agricultural produce face a similar fate. The current market price of ginger is Rs. 4,000. A mechanism should be  worked out to preserve lime and other agricultural produce that are  abundant during the harvesting season for the off-season market. 

 “The wholesale purchase price of mangoes in Thambuttegama  Economic Centre yesterday was Rs. 150. However, the racketeers purchase  them and sell in the towns after spraying chemicals for prices between  Rs. 500 and Rs. 600 a kilo. It is the harvesting season and the farmers  bringing cartloads of mangoes sell them to the middleman for Rs. 150  per kilo.”   

“Watermelon is another such produce. Large stocks of watermelon in Rajarata area are dumped in the jungle to be fed on by  animals. The government should work out a system to procure them to  hospitals, army camps and schools to supplement the midday meal of  school children.” he said   

 He said the authorities have left the ongoing racket of  the middleman without the least concern about the predicament of the farmers  for want of a remunerative market.