|Thursday, 20 February 2003|
Apex bodies for coconut, rubber sectors
By Channa Kasturisinghe
Two umbrella organisations uniting key associations in the coconut and rubber sectors will be formed in the near future in a bid to resolve problems and to formulate long term strategies for the promotion of the two sectors, Plantation Industries Minister Lakshman Kiriella said.
Addressing the media on Tuesday to launch the Tea Association of Sri Lanka, the Minister said the Government would assist the key associations in the plantation sector to promote marketing and product development to face challenges in the global market.
"These umbrella organisations will be funded by the Asian Development Bank supported Plantation Reform Project and the proposed Plantation Development Project. Tea, Coconut and Rubber industries comprise multiple stakeholder groups with diverse interests and various priorities. The success of implementing common long term strategies for each sector will depend in the effectiveness of these apex bodies," Minister Kiriella said.
He said that initially the Tea Association of Sri Lanka would be launched on February 27 bringing six key stakeholders in the tea sector, namely, the Colombo Tea Traders Association, the Tea Exporters Association, Sri Lanka Federation of Tea Small Holdings Development Societies, Private Tea Factory Owners Association and the Colombo Brokers Association. The association would develop funding plans up to 2006 to work on a common long term strategy, quality certification and marketing and product development.
Meanwhile, the importance of bringing all the stakeholders of the coconut industry under one organisation has been highlighted at various fora in view of the present challenges including unhealthy weather conditions and the competitiveness in the international market.
Coconut cultivators, oil and desiccated coconut millers and other associations have been working on their own agendas to resolve issues due to the decline in coconut production during the last couple of years. Key associations in the sector had been divided over issues such as import of palm oil and attempts to import coconuts from other producing countries.
Plantation Industries Deputy Minister Navin Dissanayake told the D/C Millers Association Annual General Meeting recently that his Ministry has drawn up a five-year development plan to ensure stable annual coconut production and to promote coconut based products for which the support and consensus of all the stakeholders was vital.
Minister Kiriella told the Daily News that a similar program to promote the rubber sector including the expansion of the plantation area and to promote value addition in the rubber manufacturing sector has been launched by the Government.
"The cooperation of all stake holders in the rubber sector is essential in implementing this program.
For example, the rubber factory owners and manufacturing sector should set up factories in new areas to support the small holding sector," Minister Kiriella said.
Produced by Lake House