Dec 15, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka will go ahead with a new law requiring transport of fruits and vegetables in plastic crates but would look into any shortcomings after protests by farmers and traders led to shortages in the capital. “We’re not changing the policy,” declared Keheliya Rambukwella, media minister and spokesman for the Cabinet of ministers after their weekly meeting.
Rambukwella said there may have been shortcomings in the law with perhaps not enough time being given to implement the changes and inadequate consultation with the fresh produce trade.
“The policy is not incorrect – that’s why it has only been postponed by a month. Maybe there are some shortcomings; therefore, we will look into any shortcomings and implement it.”
The law requiring transport and storage of fruits and vegetables was enforced this week to try to minimise post-harvest losses which some studies say is as high as 40 percent in their usual form of transport in ‘gunny’ bags made of natural fibres like coconut or jute.
The government had given previous warnings the new law would be implemented and had put off earlier deadlines after protests from the trade which say they cannot afford the plastic crates.
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