Under SWITCH - Asia program :
Five-hundred SMEs to receive financial help for four years
*Sri Lanka among 13 countries selected
*Food and beverage industry to benefit
*European Commission, the project donor
Sri Lanka was among 13 countries selected for the four-year
supportive program SWITCH-Asia, initiated by the European Commission.
It is a public-private partnership that will benefit the food and
beverage industry, Senior Assistant Secretary General Ceylon Chamber of
Commerce Chandrarathna Vithanage told the inaugural ceremony of the
program launch in Colombo yesterday.
Five-hundred Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) will receive
financial assistance for four years Under the SWITCH-Asia program. This
program is implemented by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce to promote
sustainable consumption and production to SMEs in the food and beverage
industry. The European Commission is the project donor.
The objective of the program is to improve the performance of the
industries through promotion of cost effective production techniques and
best practices of sustainable production. It aims at minimizing the use
of natural resources, toxic materials and emissions of waste and
pollutants not to jeopardize the needs of future generations. The main
benefit is derived through free consultancy and advisory services
towards environment preservation.
The green manufacturing practice is very important for every
industry, particularly the SMEs to cut down on the usage of natural
resources such as water and energy, he said.
More than 50 percent of the industries in Sri Lanka fall in to the
SME category and they make a significant contribution to the country’s
industrial output. However, the majority of the Sri Lankan SMEs do not
adopt cost-effective productive and environmentally sound production
processes and handling systems due to lack of access to expertise and
The country needs a new direction to face the global challenges and
convert the black economy into a green economy. It will also complement
the Government’s Haritha Lankaprogram, said Minister of Environmental
and Natural Resources Patali Champika Ranawaka.
It is necessary to work towards alternative energy resources as by
2059 the world will be using its last oil mine. A solution for the
energy crisis needs to be found without delay as 86 percent of the
economic activities are based on energy. The Arctic ice is dissolving
fast and the global water levels will rise by 23 feet. This will be the
result of global warming. The need of the hour is environment friendly
projects, he said.
It is important to reverse the brain drain and India has achieved it.
The country requires the services of its professionals abroad. It is
time they return, he said.