Upcountry farmers, who received a considerable income from export agriculture products, no longer enjoy a stable price, confirmed Deputy Minister of Agriculture Anoma Gamage in Parliament yesterday.
In response to a question for oral answer raised by Opposition lawmaker Erick Prasanna Weerawardena, she identified the increased supply as the key reason for reduced demand.
“Comparison to the prices seen in January this year, the grade-1 nutmeg prices have dropped by about 17% and the grade-2 by 26.5% by the end of April 2015. Two nutmeg producing countries – Indonesia and Granada – have increased their production, forcing the demand to reduce by 16% in the world market. As a result, local purchases have also gone down,” confirmed Gamage.
Explaining the steps taken to improve the quality of nutmeg production in Sri Lanka to attract higher prices in international markets, the Deputy Minister said: “Investment supportive programs have been established. Educating the stakeholders, introduction of post-harvest technologies, use of technology and machinery and the processing mechanisms are some of the initiatives included in this effort to uplift the quality standards of the Sri Lankan nutmeg exports.”
Last year, the Government allocated Rs.784.3 million to the Department of Export Agriculture. On top of this, an additional sum of Rs.828.4 million was provisioned from the supplementary budget, which was passed in the Parliament a few months ago.
According to the Deputy Minister, her Government has increased the allocations made to develop the export crop cultivation in Sri Lanka regardless of the global price fluctuations and encouraged stakeholders to continue producing high quality nutmeg from Sri Lanka. -Courtesy: Daily Financial Times 20 May 2015