Traditional Markets

From left: Dr. Fernando Im, Senior Country Economist for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, The World Bank, Hon. Eran Wickramaratne, State Minister, Ministry of Finance and Mass Media, Dr. W A Wijewardana, Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Prof. Indralal de Silva, Former (Chair) of Demography, University of Colombo, Prof. Amala de Silva, Department of Economics, University of Colombo at the panel discussion on "Demographic Change in Sri Lanka" moderated by Dr. Ramani Gunatilaka, International Centre for Ethnic Studies.

Every day for twenty-five years Louisa Nona has been coming to the pavement of the Pettah private bus stand with a load of betel leaves to sell.
Often she returns home with more left over betel leaves than she could carry.rn

rnThings are different these days.rn

rnThis has nothing to do with her appearance but everything to do with the Sinhala and Hindu New Year.rn

rnldblquote During this season I bring around 15,000 leaves. On other days we bring only about 8,000-10,000. When prices go up I can sell more,
dblquote Louisa Nona says.rn

rnShe has good sales during the week before the New Year.rn

rnLouisa Nonas betel leaves however is cheaper than her competitors.rn

rnAccording to her, a batch of 1000 betel leaves sells for Rs. 300. But the New Year has pushed prices up.rn

rnShe sells the same amount of leaves for about Rs. 500 or Rs. 600.rnThis works out to a mere Rs. 0.50 to Rs. 0.60 a leaf.rn

rnA small return for the trouble they go through to find farmers, buy the leaves and tra