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Malik tells biz to focus on creating more Lankan brands for international market

27 September 2019 12:10 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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  • Says EDB will back and financially support those building Lankan brands
  • Asserts only through export-driven growth the country could achieve US$ 28 bn target by 2022
  • Tells to make the most of country’s agricultural base to move into adjacent sectors

 

By Shabiya Ali Ahlam

The need to build more Sri Lankan brands and taking them to international market successfully was asserted this week, as challenges continue to mount with the country looking to shift its attention towards being a more value adding and innovative exporter.


Acknowledging that only through export-driven growth that Sri Lanka will be able to increase its exports to US $ 28 billion by 2022, which in turn would help the country realize its full economic potential, Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrama told the relevant authorities stand ready to extend the necessary assistance required.
“The new challenge we must tackle from here onwards is to build more and more Sri Lankan brands, and take them to the world. And we will support you in this…If you had postponed thinking of branding overseas for a few years down the road, we want you to do this now - we will support you, through the various financial schemes available,” said Samarawickrama told the Ceylon Spices trademark launch on Wednesday in Colombo. 


The minister pointed out that the Market Access Support Programme of the Export Development Board (EDB) is conceptualized to provide matching grants and trade guidance for businesses to go confidently into global markets and worry less about the initial financial costs.


Consistent branding efforts is another area Samarawickrama pointed out that needs more emphasis as doing so would help affirm to the world that  products coming from Sri Lanka  are of high quality, high ethical standards, and have strong environment sustainability credentials.


“That will be our unique differentiator, in an age where consumers are seeking authenticity, traceability, and quality,” he said.


The minister added that a vital aspect in building a global brand is to also build a “good narrative, weaving a story that makes people intrigued and curious.”


While emphasizing that the policy of the government is to encourage greater value addition, and greater value capture in Sri Lanka, moving away from commodity exports, Samarawickrama pointed out that as a country that has a good agricultural base, efforts must be taken towards moving into adjacent sectors such as food processing, flavours, extracts and essences for the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industry, and food-related products for the health and wellness industry.

Furthermore, the minister stated that with the increase in global opportunities, it must be understood that Sri Lanka is not in a position to tap into “all of it” in its own. Doing so requires the bringing in of international partners through foreign direct investment (FDI), which according to him not only bring in capital, but also the expertise, technology, and the market access.
“I encourage all those who are doing bulk commodity exports and basic processing to go out and find partners who can help us tap into these new and growing high value segments,” Samarawickrama said.

 

 

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