Exports increased by 6% up to October - Prof. G.L. Peiris
Exports from Sri Lanka had increased by six per cent up to last
October while all imports had come down by 10 per cent, which in turn,
had resulted in an increase of income for the people and a corresponding
decrease in expenditure, Minister of Export Development and
International Trade Prof. G.L. Peiris citing Central Bank reports.
He was speaking at a meeting at the Export Development Board (EDB).
At this meeting the Minister distributed Rs. 4 million from the funds
allocated under the 'Jathika Saviya-Gama Neguma' Development Programme,
among several Rural Livelihood Development Programmes operating in
Hanwella, Padukka, Maharagama and Kaduwela Divisional Secretariats.
Under this programme, plants and seedlings needed for foliage and
mushroom cultivation, technical advice and agricultural training would
be provided while infusion of technology and the facilitation of the
interaction between farmers and exporters too would take place.
Speaking further Prof. Peiris said that efforts were being made to
encourage local production in preference to the import of foreign goods
into the country.
No country could stand on its own feet by importing all its
requirements. Everyone should strive to produce every possible consumer
item within the country. During the reign of King Parakramabahu, Sri
Lanka was referred to as the 'Granary of the East' and today, it's
everyone's duty to create conditions to make that a reality in modern
To achieve such an objective, several practical steps had to be taken
and the present programme ensured that the producer was provided with
all the facilities and incentives in order to strengthen the local
Referring to the increase in exports and the decrease imports, Prof.
Peiris said that it had given a tremendous boost to the local economy.
He cautioned that the country should not rest on its laurels as yet and
that Indefatigable efforts should be made to spread the monetary
resources thus earned throughout the country in a just and fair manner.
He also pointed out that areas surrounding Colombo city had been
identified as quite suitable for agricultural production. Even in a
limited land area, a lot of export-oriented crops could be cultivated
that would ensure great economic benefits.
He also said that all monies allocated to individual MPs from the
Decentralized Budget should not be spent only on the creation of
physical resources or infrastructure but a good part of it should be
channeled towards efforts such as the propagation of self-employment
opportunities in society and improvement of livelihood of the poorer
segments of the people.
Prof. Peiris said that earlier, everybody concentrated on industry in
relation to exports but the new thinking had been to encourage the
cultivation of agricultural products, specially through schemes such as
'export villages'. There was also a conducive environment throughout the
country for the promotion of such a concept.
Referring to the 'export village' concept initiated by the EDB, which
was a departure from the traditional export trading model, Prof. Peiris
said that the unique feature of it was the ability to provide a fair and
high price to the primary producer.
In addition, the programme would also safeguard the farmers at every
turn, cover him against any uncertainties, ensure qualitative up-grading
of products and the maximum utilization of available technology while
Among the others who addressed the gathering were Hector Bethmage,
Minister of Agriculture, Lands, Livestock Products, Health and
Irrigation of the Western Provincial Council (WPC) and Anil Koswatte,