Severe rice, sugar shortage hits Jaffna

[TamilNet, Monday, 26 May 2008, 15:33 GMT]
Residents of Jaffna peninsula are experiencing acute shortage of rice and sugar as stocks of these essential food items have dwindled in shops and co-operative retail stores despite Jaffna Government Agent’s (GA) assertion that Jaffna peninsula has enough stocks to last three months, civil society sources in Jaffna said. Trade society representatives in Jaffna said that the ineffective handling by the Jaffna Secretariat officials to facilitate shipments through Commissioner of Essential Services (CES) in Colombo, was the main reason for the shortage.

Private dealers said that there is no sugar in the market.

Multi-purpose Co-operative Societies, ration sugar through their retail shops in quantities from a quarter to half a kilo to families according to their ‘family-cards’.

As there was sufficient stock of rice produced locally to meet the demands of the peninsula after this year’s harvest, shipment of rice had been suspended for some time.

However, the rice that remains now is hardly enough to supply the residents in the peninsula.

When there was a similar hortage for wheat flour in the recent past, the GA had obtained the assistance of a private trader to supply flour, avoiding the crisis temporarily.

GA is currently making efforts to buy 500 metric tonnes of rice and 500 metric tonnes of sugar from a private trader to meet the crisis but this would only meet one tenths of the peninsula’s demand, representatives of traders’ societies said.

“If there is stock of rice and sugar in sufficient quantity for three months as the GA had told Southern media, why is that it is being not released for sale to the public?," asks NGOs who are aware of the food situation,

 

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