Sri Lanka’s government has raised tariffs on imported fruits for two months in an attempt to counter the economic impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Despite relaxing its lockdown on 20 April, the country’s currency has dropped to record lows against the US dollar and the government has put a focus on building a strong domestic agriculture industry in the near future, according to local news sources.
In response to these factors, the government introduced a Special Commodity Levy on oranges, grapes apples and pears, on 17 April, according to a USDA report.
The report said the value of Sri Lankan fresh fruit imports has averaged US$71m over the past five years and approximately 25 per cent come from China and 8 per cent come from the US.
Apples account for 33 per cent of all imported fruit with just under half sourced from China and around 20 per cent sourced from the US. Of total US fruit shipments to Sri Lanka, about 75 per cent are fresh apples, followed by grapes and oranges.