|Wednesday, 26 November 2003|
Lanka's fruits to be promoted more aggressively in UK - SLUKBC chief
By Shirajiv Sirimane
The President of the Sri Lanka United Kingdom Business Council (SLUKBC) Jayampathi Perera said that they are hoping to aggressively promote the export Sri Lanka fruits to the United Kingdom.
Perera who is now in Sri Lanka to attend the INTRAD exhibition said that though there are fruits imported specially from the African countries there is a demand for Sri Lanka fruits such as pineapples and Jaffna mangoes. He said that there is also an emerging market for traditional Sri Lankan fruits such as Uguressa, Ambarella and Veralu.
He said that Sri Lankans and even Britons are keen to invest in agriculture projects in Sri Lanka. The Export Development Board had presented a proposal in this regard mainly targeting the Southern Province.
He said that traditionally the Southern Province has been involved in this industry for well over 40 years. "The Council is now hoping to identify some home growers and provide them with fertilizer, seeds and agricultural equipment on a loan system."
The Council will initially set a few companies, which would provide these loan facilities and buy back the produce from the home growers. "They will also be responsible to export these fruits to Europe."
Perera said that they are also hoping to promote the Call Centre business and they have got a very good response from Sri Lanka in this regard.
The SLUKBC could be contacted on e-mail, email@example.com
Meanwhile, the President of the Sri Lanka Fruit and Vegetable Producers and Processors Export Association, Sarath Silva said that the budget has not given them any encouragement for the industry. "This industry has vast potential of creating self employment and incentives should be given by the government."
He said that the airfreight from Sri Lanka is very high and a five-kilo parcel of fruits or vegetables costs around half a dollar for each hour of travel. "In contrast the Kenyan government has offered many airfreight incentives and for them a five kilo parcel from Kenya to London costs only one US dollar."
The association is also hoping to promote the model farm concept and is looking for financial support from the Government. He said that they are now hoping to tie up with entrepreneurs in the United Kingdom to promote this concept.
The Association is now negotiating with Japan to iron out the quarantine barrier. "Sri Lanka has been successful in breaking this barrier with regard to flower exports and I am sure we will get the green light from Japan for the fruit and vegetable sector soon," he said.
Produced by Lake House