Encouraged by raging exports in this sector, Sri Lanka has begun work on the country’s first ever international standard food testing and safety centre that directly focuses even the village food producers in the country.
More than 40% of SMEs are in food processing sector.
These efforts are a part of our bigger plan to link this sector to our exports” revealed the Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka on 4 August in Colombo.
Minister Risath Bathiudeen was addressing the launch of the 16th edition of Pro Food Pro Pack Agribiz international expo at BMICH.
This expo series, originally launched by Minister Bathiudeen’s Industry and Commerce Ministry in Colombo in 2001 with local exhibitors, has now expanded to become an annual international food industry event in South Asia sought after by international firms in the industry. Among last year’s expo participants were exhibitors from Morocco and Poland.
“SMEs in food processing sector are producing at an annual reported value of Rs 100 million and employing 1.5 million people.”
This sector is therefore highly significant in our economic planning” said Minister Batiudeen, and added: “As a result the ministry commerce has allocated close to Rs 195 million (US $ 1.2 Mn) for this year alone to enhance Sri Lanka’s food sector in many projects. The most important project is the setting up of Sri Lanka’s first Accredited Food Laboratory for SMEs called as the Centre for Food Analysis and Food Safety under the Industrial Development Board of this Ministry. The cost of this lab facility is Rs 140 million.