Co-operative outlets sell food at warehouse prices

Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen (left) and Chairman of Lanka Sathosa TMKB Tennakoon briefing the media recently in Colombo

The government recently closed international tenders for 200,000 MT rice tranche to be distributed through its cooperative network as part of its strategy to bring down the cost of living.

“Our international tender to import 200,000 MT rice closed on 31 October and the rice samples submitted with tender bids are being forwarded to ITI for lab tests. The 200,000 MT total consists of 90000 MT Parboiled Nadu rice, 60000 MT Samba (Parboiled) rice and 50000 MT White Raw rice,” said Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bthudeen. Minister Bthiudeen, flanked by Chairman of Lanka Sathosa TMKB Tennakoon and Director of his Ministry Indika Ranatunga, said the government had lowered prices of several essential items sold by the 370-outlet strong Lanka Sathosa chain under his Ministry, with immediate effect–red dhal at Rs 148 per kilo (from Rs. 152), Samba rice per kilo at Rs. 78 (from Rs 80), broken rice at Rs 60 per kilo (from Rs. 65), parboiled “Nadu” rice per kilo at Rs 73 (from Rs. 74) and white raw rice at 64 per kilo (from Rs. 65).

A total of 34 local and international private suppliers have bid for the 200,000 MT rice, announced on 19 October and closed on 31 October. Suppliers from Pakistan, Myanmar, Thailand, India, and Vietnam are among them. Several Sri Lankan suppliers also quoted. This week the Ministry will forward all the quotations to the Cabinet-appointed High Powered Tender Board.

Minister Bathiudeen said: “17,100 MT of Nadu rice from India are now in the markets; 53,000 MT more will come by the middle of this month and that they have also opened 25 new wholesale outlets under the state owned retail market chain Lanka Sathosa which operates under my ministry-one wholesale outlet per district. Lanka Sathosa is a retail network but we have opened wholesale outlets. These outlets are now selling all essential items to anyone at wholesale prices. We have also launched essential items delivery to 4,000 cooperatives across the country at wholesale prices from the 25 new wholesale outlets.”

More than 400,000 households in Sri Lanka visit the co-op city cooperative shops for their essential purchases and 800,000 households visit Lanka Sathosa network for the same purpose.

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