Association calls for coordinated development strategy
Sri Lanka’s fruit and vegetable (F&V) export ear nings growth is expected to be restrained to around 3% to 5% in 2012 amidst economic downturn, international competition, exchange fluctuation and export produce shortages, an industry official said.
According to the Chairman of the Fruit and Vegetable Producers, Processors and Exporters Association (FVPPEA), S. Gnanaskandan, the sector achieved a 10.5 percent Year-on-Year (YoY) growth during 2010 and 2011.
“The sector recorded export earnings of US $ 36 million in 2011 and US $ 22 million in the first 6 months of 2012. However, I do not think we can repeat the same performance this year,” Gnanaskandan noted, addressing the FVPPEA Annual General Meeting held recently.
The vegetables sector dropped 18% during the first 6 months of 2012 compared with 2011 partly due to the adhoc weather patterns which hindered the cultivation.
However, Gnanaskandan pointed out that the fruit exports sector had a12% growth compared with 2011 according to the Export Development Board statistics.
The main F&V markets of Sri Lanka are Middle East, Europe and the country boasts of being the second largest exporter to the Maldives.
The association calls to initiate a coordinated development strategy for the F&V export industry and to develop an economic policy that would address more specifically the development of agriculture and F&V exports sectors.
“This requires the implementation of a suitable macro-economic policy and maintenance of a predictable investment climate, facilitating foreign direct investment to the country which in turn would benefit the agricultural sector”, Gnanaskandan said also citing CIC and Expo involvement in large scale investments.
The Association further believes the rupee is overvalued and urged the need for facilitating export financing at internationally competitive rates in order to remain competitive among regional competitors such as India, Dubai and Thailand.