Turmeric importers who claim that nearly one million kilos of turmeric they imported during the month of April are lying the Colombo Port have once again written to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa seeking their intervention to have the stocks released.
The importers point out that in the last six months, the government has allowed only 19 containers (342 MT) to be cleared and as this is far less than the demand for turmeric in the local market and this has led to a severe shortage of the spice.
The shortage, they say, is also encouraging a black market for turmeric with unscrupulous persons selling a kilo for around Rs 4,500 while the market price is around Rs 750. The importers say if the consignment in the harbour is released, turmeric can be sold at the government marked price and this will help consumers.
They also promise to pay the necessary demurrage costs and assist local turmeric farmers in the future.
Th importers wrote to the President and PM last month seeking a appointment to meet them but there had been no response, they say.
While the government-imposed restrictions on the import of turmeric and set a fixed Maximum Retail Price on a kilogram of Turmeric Powder at Rs. 750 in April, the importers say the stocks of turmeric was imported based on “No-Objection” letters issued to them by the Department of Export Agriculture.
A copy of the letter was released to the media.