Government mulls importing vegetables as prices soar in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s Minister of Trade, Commerce, and Food Security, Nalin Fernando said that vegetables could be sold at lower prices if they were to be imported, addressing concerns over rising vegetable and egg prices. Minister Fernando made these comments in an effort to assure the public that the government is actively working to address these price hikes and ensure affordability for consumers.

Addressing a media briefing, Minister Fernando disclosed that discussions had taken place with various government departments and institutions, including the Agriculture Ministry, to find ways to reduce vegetable prices. He specifically mentioned that if vegetables were imported, the government could supply a kilo of leeks, carrots, and beans at a price range of Rs. 300 to Rs. 350. He further stated that the Food Policy Committee, convened at his request, had committed to implementing measures to lower vegetable prices within the next month to one and a half months.

Commenting on stabilising prices of eggs in the market, Minister Fernando said that the price of imported eggs had recently increased by Rs. 8 due to changes in Value Added Tax (VAT) and other associated taxes. As a result, imported eggs would now be sold at Rs. 43 at all Sathosa outlets, compared to the previous price of Rs. 35. He attributed this price increase to the State Trading Corporation’s (STC) decision to import eggs from India under new tenders, which accounted for the added VAT, increased taxes, and higher transportation costs.

Minister Fernando explained that the government had initially monitored local egg production for two weeks in an attempt to meet demand. However, after suspending the import of eggs, market prices surged to between Rs. 52 and Rs. 55 per egg. In response to the price spike, the State Trading Corporation decided to resume importing eggs under new tenders to stabilize prices and ensure availability, he said. The Minister noted that if local suppliers could provide eggs at the Rs. 43 price point, it would resolve the issue of rising egg prices, benefiting consumers across the country.