‘Agri sector needs new technology, transport, export mechanism’

Richard Pieris, Natural Foams Limited won the Most Outstanding Exporter for 2015 year award at the annual NCE Exports awards held in Colombo Hilton last Friday. Here Public Enterprises Development, Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne is seen presenting the Most Outstanding Exporter of theYear 2015 trophy to Richard Pieris, Natural Foams Limited. Chairman Sri Lanka Telecom. P.G. Kumarasinghe, Sarada De Silva, President of the Chamber, Shiham Marikar, Secretary General/CEO look on. Picture by Sulochana Gamage.

The country’s agricultural sector is unproductive due to several reasons including non using of modern technological methods to improve productions, lack of transportation and even no direct facilities for farmers to export their products to the international market.

This situation has badly affected the country’s GDP.

Public Enterprises Development, Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne made these remarks at the 24th Annual NCE Export Awards 2016 ceremony held in Colombo.

The ceremony was conducted under the theme ‘Voice of the Exporters’ with the participation of eminent Sri Lankan exporters who contributed to swell the country’s economy during the last decades.

Deputy Minister Wickramaratne further highlighted that although Sri Lanka’s agricultural sector holds 28.5 percent of the labour force it contributes to 10.1 percent of GDP. “While one percent of the country’s labour force are working in the industrial and service sectors, they produce only 1.22 percent and 1.28 percent of GDP respectively,” He said that people are moving out of this unproductive agricultural sector at a rate of 1.5 percent per year since 2011.

Deputy Minister Wickramaratne further said under this situation farmers have insufficient yield to export but even when yield is high, they have no connections even with exporters to sell their products.

Regarding the country’s weather patterns, the Deputy Minister said the country’s agriculture is totally vulnerable due to droughts and rains as many crops are destroyed by weather conditions.

“However, we must study the weather patterns and educate farmers on top crop planning methods as they know pre-planting and what they expect from that season and also how to deal with unexpected weather conditions,” he said.

The Deputy Minister said that the country should know latest technological methods such as when fruit cannot be kept fresh enough to sell converting it into other forms like canning, manufacturing jam etc.

The Deputy Minister also highlighted the importance of developing the storing and transporting sectors to main the freshness of the products.

He said we also need a better refrigerator truck system to preserve products.NCE, President Sarada M de Silva said Sri Lankan exporters contributed an invaluable service to the country’s economy in spite of many challenges and obstacles faced by the country as well as the international market. National Institute of Exports, Chairman Dr. Jagath Peiris said although several Governments in the past took efforts to increase the exports of the country, the growth in exports in Sri Lanka is much below expectations when compared to several other countries in Asia.

Over 100 exporters who contributed immensely to the field received certificates and awards at the event. 


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