Dambulla, as it was, the government wants them to switch to plastic crates. Photo via LIRNEasia.
Ranjit is a gentleman farmer and I highly recommend his coverage of the ongoing vegetable crate protests. You may remember vegetables from Why Is The Military Selling Vegetables? and Why Are We Throwing Coconuts In The Ocean? Now Minister Johnston Fernando is catching flak for demanding that wholesalers ship vegetables in plastic crates.
The current impasse is that traders don’t want to buy 1000 Rupee crates and are protesting bloody hell. I haven’t gone to the kade for veggies yet, but I’m not looking forward to it. I got enough beans to make it a couple days. The government is saying 20-40% of transported stuff is lost. This matches India, where about 40% of food is wasted in transport or storage. However, crates are only one part of that, bad roads and intermittent refrigeration are also problems. To be fair, Sri Lanka has those problems to a far lesser degree.
Anyways, as is the case with their Unawatuna demolishment thing, not a bad idea, but terrible execution. Dudes are pissed, prices are going up, and the government has already backtracked twice and looks weak. In all these cases they’re trying to do something basically right, but doing it wrong. I suppose tenacity will get them through.
It is the trader mafia that calls the shots. The consumer and the farmer pay the price. Please keep the farmer out of this… As a transporter and a retailer as well as a home delivery specialist I can say that very often at the retail level a substantial amount of produce is wasted due to the lack of storage (refrigeration) facilities. That is a problem that is again not addressed by the plastic crate policy.
The Compromise should be to sell the crates at a subsidized rate of Rs500 each for immediate purchase. Anything more is prohibitive as most of the vegetables carried in each crate are of lesser value than the crates themselves…
IT IS NOT ALL A PLASTIC CRATE ISSUE. (Plastic Crate Saga Is Not Surprising)