The latest fuel price hike has resulted in the upward spiral of prices of food items including bakery products.
The bakeries have increased the prices of their fast food items such as savouries and pastries.
All Ceylon Bakery Owners Association President N.K. Jayawardena told the Sunday Times that the increase in fuel prices has caused an upward revision in prices of their short-eats.
“We had to increase the price of bread and all bakery products due to the price increases of diesel, gas, kerosene and the addition of an electricity surcharge, as bakeries rely on these items in their production. Also, 90% of the related raw materials are imported, and with the depreciation of the Rupee against the Dollar, prices of these goods increased too,” he added.
He said that due to the increased cost, bakers were compelled to increase the salaries of their employees too.
Mr. Jayawardena said that, there has been a slight reduction in the consumption of bread, which is temporary, as daily bread is an absolute essential.
Most bakeries have increased the prices of short-eats by Rs.5, with a fish bun at Rs. 52, a plain bun at Rs.55, a roll at Rs.37 and a cutlet at Rs.50.
Meanwhile, milk powder companies have been demanding a price increase, claiming huge losses in their sales. They complain that several recommendations and submissions made to the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA), have gone unanswered.
These companies have warned the CAA to take speedy decisions on increasing the prices of milk powder, failing which, the country would have to face a severe shortage of milk powder.
Maliban Milk Products General Manager D.L. Weerasuriya said that, if the company continues to sell milk powder at the present rate, it would suffer a loss of Rs. 220 million per month.
“The Maliban company currently loses Rs. 45 million, and faces a loss of Rs. 37 for every kilo of milk powder sold. We have already closed our factory from February 24, as we cannot continue supplying. We need an immediate solution to minimise the losses. We will cut down production until the authorities agree on the new price to be printed on the packs,” he said.
“When prices of all essential items have gone up, including that of bread, there is no point in keeping milk powder prices unchanged,” he said.
However, CAA Chairman Rumy Marzook told the Sunday Times that the requests made by the milk powder companies are under consideration by the price committee, and a decision will be made soon.
Meanwhile, gas companies have also demanded a price increase, and submitted proposals to the CAA.
Litro Gas Lanka Ltd., Managing Director Piyadasa Kudabalage said a proposal had been submitted to the CAA, requesting a price increase, but no decisions were forthcoming yet.
Vani Vilas Administration Manager Jayakumar said that his hotel was badly affected by the sudden fuel price increase, especially that of kerosene and the surcharge on electricity. “We have increased the prices of food items by 6% to 7%. Lunch packets, food items such as thosai and sweetmeats have been increased by Rs.10,” he said
Consumption has been reduced due to the price increases of goods and business is down by 20%.
Although fuel prices have increased, fish mongers claim that there are no immediate effects, but expect price increases in the near future.
“For now, fish prices have decreased, but with time, we expect price increases, as fishermen are also facing a Rs. 4 million loss,” Cherry Fish Private Ltd owner Sanjeewa Senaratne said.
However, prices of vegetables and rice items remain unchanged, while prices of grocery items and other food related items have increased.
At the Narahenpita market, the following prices were recorded this week. 1kg of brinjals at Rs. 20, 1kg of carrots at Rs. 50, 1kg of tomatoes at Rs. 20, 1kg of radish at Rs 20, 1kg of cabbage at Rs 40, 1kg of cucumber at Rs. 20 and 1kg of pumpkin at Rs. 40.But the corresponding prices at one of the main supermarkets was slightly higher, with 1kg of tomatoes at Rs. 30, 1kg of cucumber at Rs. 40, 1kg of pumpkin at Rs. 50 and 1kg of carrots at Rs. 60, while at retail outlets, the corresponding prices were still higher.
40,000 kilos of veggies dumped as garbage
More than 40,000 kilos of fresh vegetables were thrown away yesterday at the Dambulla Economic Centre as traders were unable to market them.
Fresh tomatoes were seen being unloaded from gunny bags into garbage trucks as wholesale prices at Dambulla dropped to an all time low of Rs. two a kilo while at the Manning market a kilo was sold at Rs. 20.
Traders said that a surplus of production had flooded the market but as transport cost was high traders were reluctant to risk sending the supplies to other markets including Colombo. This had forced farmers to dump their produce into garbage trucks.