The Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB), in association with the Import Promotion Desk (IPD), Germany, successfully concluded a series of initiatives that fostered a new set of exporters to the nation’s economy.
Since 2018, the EDB with the assistance of the IPD undertook a wide range of activities to open market access in the European Union (EU) for enterprises involved in the sector of natural ingredients in Sri Lanka. The selected enterprises were given exposure in areas such as Market Intelligence, capacity building, knowledge on import standards and conformity requirement to enter the market. Participation at International Trade Fairs, etc during the 4-year programme. The beneficiaries had the opportunity of taking part in premier food and beverage exhibitions such as BIOFACH, SIAL, Food Ingredients Europe, and ANUGA under this assistance scheme. The participant enterprises under this programme were: Woga Naturals Pvt Ltd Waguruwela Oil Mills Pvt Ltd, Lihini Nature Products Pvt Ltd, Pasanka Pvt Ltd, Asian Agro Products Pvt Ltd, and Manchiee De Coco Pvt Ltd. The selected entities export a range of agricultural products such as coconut-related products, spices, dehydrated fruits, canned jackfruit, herbs, ingredients for tea, etc. The beneficiary exporters represent all regions of the country including the Southern, Central, and the North-Western provinces. The participant enterprises have obtained certification pre-requisites such as ISO, ORGANIC, HACCP in order to be eligible for market access in the EU.
To mark the successful completion of this worthwhile programme, a ceremony was held to hand over certificates to the participant companies on 9th December at the EDB under the patronage of EDB Chairman Suresh D de Mel. Furthermore, seven (7) EDB officers who were trained in EU Market Entry requirements were given certificates of recognition.
Expressing her views at the occasion, EDB Director General Malani Baddegamage pointed out that the EDB has come a long way with the IPD since 2018, the success of the work done together is reflected through these many export companies who entered the EU market and added that it takes a certain amount of time for companies to become export-ready and the commitment of companies to build capacities and fulfil Prerequisites to become exporter is essential.
“We are very happy about the success of this program and grateful for the professionalism and commitment the EDB officers have shown during the course of our mutual activities. The excellent outcome is a result of the teamwork of the involved partners and an exemplary case for the success of international cooperation”, Angie Martinez – Expert Sourcing and Purchasing – IPD, observed at the event. She noted that the IPD-EDB joint initiative was able to create the next generation of exporters in Sri Lanka.
Commenting on the benefits gained from the joint initiative, Jacob Fernando, Manager – Planning & Certifications – Asian Agro Products (Pvt) Ltd, mentioned that their company was able to gain a thorough experience in sales coaching, trade fair participation, creating a professional website, sending personalized emails, and customer follow-ups through the IPD assistance. Asian Agro Products is a company involved in the production of Dessicated Coconuts and one of the few BRC-certified entities in Sri Lanka. Since joining the IPD programme, the firm has been able to obtain export orders from Germany, Spain, and Poland.
“We are extremely pleased to create a knowledge-exchange platform by training EDB officers on EU market-entry requirement and hope that the trained EDB officers would share the knowledge they gained with their colleagues and the wider exporter community in Sri Lanka”, Linda Menze, Regional Expert – IPD Hub Sri Lanka described about the training given to the selected EDB officers. Chaturi Pathmaperuma, Export Promotion Officer – EDB, who was a trainee of the IPD programme, stated that the EDB officers were able to enhance their knowledge in EU market-entry requirements as well as improve their professionalism from the IPD training programme.
IPD- Germany, promotes the establishment of durable, long-term trade relations between importers and tour operators in Germany and Europe and companies from selected partner countries. A representative of the IPD is based at the EDB premises from where the IPD hub provides support in strengthening sustainable structures for trade promotion and contributes with direct knowledge on the demand in the European markets.