‘A market that never sleeps’ is Dambulla Agri Collection Centre!

Northern Breeze truthful and not being neutral has stated the simple truth of Sri Lanka many times that the civil war that lasted three decades, effectively pushed back development activities by five decades. The Sri Lankan state has failed in the past decade to exploit the opportunities of peace and many investors who came to the country had refused to offer bribes demanded by corrupt people in power and invested in ventures in other countries. The few who did invest in the country, choose ventures that were perhaps beneficial to those in power and position than to the island nation recovering from the civil war.

One good example of missed development opportunity caused by the three decades of civil-war in Sri Lanka is the fact during the harvesting season, most of the agricultural products gets a low price due to the oversupply and due to lack of proper storing facilities for fruits and vegetables it is estimated that around 40% of the harvest is lost each year and further most of these agricultural products in the country gets a low price due to the oversupply. In the same three decades, available elsewhere in developed countries to minimize the post-harvest loss and to protect large quantities of vegetable and fruit for a long span of time had better storage facilities for agro based products stored in climate-controlled warehouses. Transporting perishable goods like leafy greens and frozen items with a low tolerance for extreme temperature swings from factories or procurement centers to the end customer can be challenging. It is specific to storing perishable items like vegetables, staples, grains, etc. Be it is for a short-term period of few hours before delivery or few months before the season kicks in, climate-controlled warehousing can preserve the perishable goods and save money in the long term. Be it on a truck or in a large warehouse, these goods need to be protected from heat and moisture at all times. A climate-controlled warehouse is the best option for large quantities of goods that need to be protected for a long span of time.

On a positive note, last week the present government broke the ground to construct a 5,000 ton temperature and humidity controlled warehouse in Dambulla Dedicated Economic Center which has the largest Agri Collection Centre in Sri Lanka which is dubbed as the ‘market that never sleeps” due farmers bring their products to sell from all over the country , in a bid to minimize the post-harvest loss and have better storage facilities for agro based products, . Several banks have opened 24 hours per day to felicitate these transitions. With a temperature and humidity controlled warehouse which is to be built in Dambulla, it would help store Agri products for some time and release it to the market, that includes during off seasons.

Understanding the demand for such ventures, the government during the last Budget provides tax concessions for investors in temperature controlled storage facilities, to woo more investments in this area. India has granted Rs 300 million to kick start this project in Dambulla.  This new initiative would help reduce food wastage during excess harvest periods, would transform farmer lives as they would get a better price for their products. More temperature and humidity controlled warehouses are needed, particularly in the dry zones will benefit the farmers and boost development in the country.