The export income from primary exports increased to US$ 454 million in 2017, up 39% from the US$ 326 million income in 2016, said Primary Industries Minister Daya Gamage. Speaking at the launch of the EU Technical assistance to the agriculture modernization project at Hotel Shangri-La in Colombo last week he said that this trend clearly indicates that Sri Lanka is in the correct path to achieve the primary industry sector exports target which is US$ 1.5 billion by 2025.”
“The Primary Industries Ministry has implemented a number of productive programmes in the past two years to realize the government objective to help export earnings achieve a broad-based improvement.” The primary industry sector consists of about 25% of the total manufacturing units and 15% of the total work force in the country. “The export earnings from this sector have averaged around Rs. 48 billion per annum for the period from 2012 to 2015”.
In 2015, the Ministry of Primary Industry was established to give more priority for primary industries to achieve a broad based improvement in the export earnings. “However, the Sri Lankan manufactures in the sector is still working with various difficulties. In my opinion, the high cost of production, outdated technology, low volume of production and product quality, lack of skilled labour, lack of training and insufficient financing facilities are some of them.”
The government institutions and international agencies need to give the fullest cooperation to device the necessary strategies to overcome these difficulties in an efficient and coordinated manner.
Some of the EU funded projects, intends to help Sri Lanka to promote the export of high value agricultural commodities in future. “This objective is planned to be achieved enabling the relevant sectors to work on a better regulatory framework including registration process of companies, system of surveillance and certification, better link to the market through knowledge, public-private partnerships, and adopting better technology.”