Dambulla Market


Dambulla Market, also known as Dambulla Dedicated Economic Centre (DDEC), merely 1 km from the Golden Temple, is the largest wholesale Produce market for vegetables and fruits in Sri Lanka. This vibrant hub supplies a kaleidoscope of produce from across the country and has become a captivating tourist attraction. Let's unravel the charm of Dambulla Market and its transformative journey. Every day, the market awakens to a burst of colours with numerous vegetables and fruits adorning the stalls. Harvested from the diverse corners of Sri Lanka and surrounding fields and villages, this bounty is brought to two large halls within the market. Here, fresh, exotic fruits and vegetables create a sensory spectacle for visitors.

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Dambulla Market has recently become a magnet for tourists seeking an authentic glimpse into Sri Lanka's agricultural traditions. As you stroll through, trucks laden with pumpkins, bananas, mangoes, and avocados create a visual feast. Engaging with locals at their tiny stalls offers a chance to purchase fresh produce and provides insights into their daily lives and age-old traditions.

While exploring the market, visitors can purchase preferred vegetables guided by a tour guide. After the excursion, the journey back to the hotel becomes a culinary adventure. Guests can bring their chosen vegetables to the hotel's kitchen and collaborate with the chef to create a meal tailored to their preferred style.

Situated approximately 175km northeast of Colombo, the Dambulla Dedicated Economic Centre (DDEC) was established 1999 as a transformative initiative. Before its inception, the Colombo Manning Market was the primary assembly and distribution point for vegetables and fruits. DDEC aimed to change this dynamic, decentralizing the market and empowering local farmers.

The establishment of DDEC marked a pivotal shift from the dominance of collectors in the trading system to a scenario where farmers brought their vegetables directly to Dambulla Market. This shift reduced the role of intermediaries and allowed farmers to bypass local shopkeepers, bringing them closer to vendors and consumers.

Dambulla Market operates 24 hours a day, creating a unique opportunity for farmers to work in the fields during daylight hours and trade their produce at night. While it may seem demanding, this arrangement has proven beneficial for small-scale farmers, for whom time is often a precious and scarce resource.

One standout feature of DDEC is the increased direct participation of farmers in selling their farm produce. Farmers from the hinterland districts, including Matale, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, and surrounding areas, can now bring their vegetables directly to the market. The relative price increase post the market's establishment has made farmers the most significant contributors, representing 36% of the weekly arrival.

Out of the 25 districts in the country, 15 significantly contribute to the agricultural produce supplied to Dambulla Market. Nuwara-Eliya, Anuradhapura, Matale, Kurunagala, Kandy, and Colombo emerge as key players, collectively providing 88% of the total weekly stock. This regional diversity ensures a rich and varied marketplace.

The Dambulla Market is more than just a marketplace; it is a dynamic canvas where tradition intertwines with modernization. The success of DDEC and the direct involvement of farmers underscore the positive impact on local communities. As visitors and locals alike engage with the vibrancy of Dambulla Market, they become part of a living tradition that continues to evolve.


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