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Sri Lanka: Regulation on Crating of Produce

(June 14, 2012) Beginning on June 11, 2012, Sri Lanka's Ministry of Cooperatives and Internal Trade will enforce a regulation first adopted several months earlier. The regulation requires the use of plastic crates to transport 11 types of vegetables and 10 types of fruit. In the past few months, the Ministry distributed plastic crates to those who transport the vegetables and fruit. The purpose of the regulation is to reduce the amount of post-harvest loss. (Sri Lanka to Enforce Vegetable Transport Regulations from Today, COLOMBO PAGE (June 11, 2012).) According to the Ministry, the country loses the equivalent of US$175 million in the value of produce as a result of improper packing methods. (Sri Lanka to Transport Vegetables, Fruits in Plastic Crates Despite Protest, CHINA DAILY (Dec. 13, 2011) (last visited June 11, 2012).) When the regulation was first announced in 2011, there were riots of farmers and traders in several locations across the country. In some places the protestors burned crates, and police used tear gas and arrested some people for transporting vegetables without using the required plastic containers. (Sri Lanka Crate Law Stirs Protest, LANKA BUSINESS ONLINE (Dec. 11, 2011).) Questions were also raised about how rules are made by ministries, often without public consultation. (Id.)

According to Sunil S. Sirisena, the Secretary of the Ministry, strict implementation is beginning now because the lack of enforcement was unfair to those farmers and traders who have already begun to use plastic crates. The Ministry will be monitoring implementation. (Sri Lanka to Enforce Vegetable Transport Regulations from Today, supra.)