|Monday, 01 November 2004|
Move to suit present day demands:
Cooperative outlets to be given supermarket status
by Shirajiv Sirimane
The Ministry of Marketing Development, Hindu Educational Affairs has decided to reposition the Co-operative marketing outlets to suit the present day demands.
The Co-operative concept which was introduced in 1906 by the British government to provide provisions and promote savings habit among the less affluent families. The movement which was in high focus during the 1971 to 77 era played a prominent role to issue rationed food stuff for the public. However, since then the outlets had been neglected.
The UPFA in their manifesto has stated that they would revamp the Co-operative movement and the government has so far released over Rs. 2 million this year.
According to the Commissioner of Co-operatives, Leslie Fonseka the outlets are now being refurbished to be repositioned to 'super grades' similar to private supermarkets and would be open until 10 p.m. daily. "We have provided them with cash registers, electronic measuring scales, deep freezers and other essential commodities for this purpose," he said.
The first of these supermarket style Co-operative marketing outlets is now being successfully operated in Nuwara Eliya, Kaduwela, Battaramulla and Wennappuwa. "We have planned to upgrade two more outlets in Tissamaharama and Bakamuna," he said.
These Co-operatives are being managed by Director boards comprising residents in the area. Most of the produce from the area is purchased and this has also created a new market for farmers.
He said that by creating super grade co-operatives the managements of nearby co-operatives too would upgrade their establishments. There are over 12,000 co-operatives in Sri Lanka where over 45,000 are being employed.
He said that the Ministry is also setting up additional Milk sales centres to promote the habit of consuming fresh milk which is more nutritious.
Over Rs. (3) three million is being invested on this project and already over 100 stalls have been opened generating additional employment opportunities. "Dairy farmers are also benefited from this concept as they are paid around Rs. 18 per litre of milk," he said.
Cool boxes, hot cupboards, hot plates and other essential material had been provided to these outlets. The Commissioner said that Sri Lankans of late are not keen on liquid milk and still prefer the powdered form.
"The government should launch an awareness campaign to promote the consumption of consuming fresh milk as it would reduce the demand for powdered milk and give a boost to the local dairy industry which is mostly self-employed," he said.
Produced by Lake House