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DateLine Sunday, 15 June 2008

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Essential food to be sold cheaper at economic centres

Three economic centres will be set up shortly in Maradana, Narahenpita and Ratmalana to sell essential food items at reduced prices.

Customers can purchase rice, vegetables, dried fish, milk and milk foods and sweets from the producers directly at their sales stalls in these economic centres, said Trade, Marketing Development Cooperatives and Consumer Services, Minister Bandula Gunawardena.

He said that when farm gate prices and retail prices are compared retail prices show an unrealistic increase due to the present distribution system of local products.

According to the present marketing system food items go through four channels namely producer, collector, wholesale trader and retail seller to reach the retail market.

Middle men reap exhobitant profits on food items which they buy at a very low price from the producers, he said.

Construction work on the Narahenpita economic centre will commence by the end of the month.

The new economic centres will provide an opportunity for a direct meeting between the producer and the customer, he said.

He said that sales stalls will be set up under the economic centres for rice, vegetables, milk and milk food and sweets producers. Those stalls cannot be leased out or rented to other parties, he said.

The Trade Minister said that due to the rice price control introduced by the government, rice is now freely available at Rs. 70 or less per kilogramme.

He said that white kakulu is available at the wholesale price of Rs. 57 per kilogramme and the retail price is Rs. 60 per kilogramme at Lak Sathosa, Co-operatives and at 100 selected private sector shops.

He said that a range of food items including imported milk powder ‘Candy’, Puttalam co-op salt, rice, dried fish and canned tins of fishball are available at Lak Sathosa and Co-operatives cheaper than the private sector supermarkets.

The six economic centres in Dambulla, Meegoda, Veyangoda, Tabuttegama, Nuwara Eliya and Norochcholai which were introduced by Trade Minister, Bandula Gunawardena mainly for wholesale marketing operate successfully.

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