Jaffna grapes flood Lankan markets, prices crash

Jaffna grapes

With the resumption of transport, there has already been a flow of goods in both directions -- south and north of the island nation. The beginning of trade between the two regions has improved the availability of essential goods and reduced their prices.

Grapes from Jaffna at some markets here are now selling at as low as SLR 100 per half a kilo as against SLR 100 for 100 grams a few weeks ago.
Southern Sri Lanka is expected to benefit immensely from the availability of several vegetables and fruits grown in Jaffna and other places of the region.
These include potatoes, chillies, red onions and mangoes besides an increased supply of fish.
Farmers in areas such as Thirunalweli in Jaffna are expected to have a windfall, with the thickly grown grape cultivation finding many takers after the end of the war between the Sri Lankan army and the Tiger rebels.
During the ethnic conflict, the farmers were trying to persuade the LTTE to allow the Omanthai entry-exit point to reopen to enable transportation of their goods to the capital city and other parts.

The first major consignment from Jaffna to Colombo was undertaken with much fanfare last month with 28 lorry loads of northern produce, including two freezer truck loads of famed crabs and prawns were dispatched to the Sri Lankan capital.
Jaffna Government Agent K Ganesh said because of the growing demand they have now decided to keep the road open for private goods convoys every alternate day compared to every ten days earlier.
With the arrival of fresh goods from the south by road at close intervals, the prices of many items like fruits are coming down even in Jaffna.
The lifting of restrictions on fishing has also proved beneficial for the fishermen in the north.

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