According to Sri Lankan officials, the import ban on turmeric is set to continue as the government aims to encourage local production of the crop. Acknowledging difficulties faced by consumers due to a shortage of turmeric, Minister of Plantations Ramesh Pathirana said his country could produce at least 4,000 tonnes of turmeric, more than half the requirement for local consumption.
As it stands, the import ban has sent prices skyrocketing, which the government hopes will support local cultivators. However, the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) has stepped in to impose a maximum retail price of 4 U.S. dollars per kg of turmeric.
Minister of Trade Dr. Bandula Gunawardena said the government would not relent on a total ban of turmeric imports for general market consumption but may ease restrictions for re-export after consultation with local businesses. In the meantime, Sri Lankan security forces have been engaged in a series of operations to crack down on smugglers bringing turmeric into the country by boat from neighboring India.