A delegation from Sri Lanka participated in the BIOFACH Trade Fair, the world’s largest annual organic food products trade show held from 14-17 February 2023 in Nuremberg, Germany. This annual trade fair held since 1990 attracts food industry professionals from across the world. This year, 2,765 exhibitors from 95 countries participated in the trade fair. The fair was also attended by 36,000 trade visitors from 135 countries. Germany is one of the largest organic food markets in the world and BIOFACH figures show that the organic sector recorded revenues of €15.3 billion for the German organic market in 2022. In Europe, Germany is the largest market for organic products as well as the largest organic producer. In addition, veganism is increasingly popular in Germany creating export opportunities for meat and dairy substitutes as well as breakfast foods.
Sri Lanka’s business delegation to BIOFACH 2023, comprising thirteen Sri Lankan companies, was led by Suresh de Mel, Chairman of the Export Development Board (EDB). The country pavilion of Sri Lanka showcased certified organic agricultural products such as spices, coconut-based products, tea, fresh fruits and vegetables, beverages, herbal products and dried fruit. The inauguration of the Sri Lanka pavilion was attended by Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Germany Varuni Muthukumarana and EDB Chairman Suresh de Mel.
The Sri Lankan companies at the event benefitted from the exposure and networking at the trade fair which provided a forum for producers, exporters, and buyers of organic products to meet business partners, observe new trends and technological developments. The participation of the Sri Lankan companies was facilitated by the EDB, Import Promotion Desk (IDP) of the German Government and the Sri Lanka Embassy in Berlin. In parallel to BIOFACH 2023, seven Sri Lankan SMEs were a part of a study tour in Germany and the Netherlands to explore opportunities for the promotion of Organic Agriculture in the European union. The study tour was organized by the Sri Lanka Export Development Board, and was funded through the multi donor action between the European Union & the Federal German Ministry for Economic Development & Cooperation (BMZ) and implemented by GIZ Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka’s organic food exports have emerged as a promising sector. The country has maintained a reputation in organic crop production and exports different varieties of organic products adhering to international standards. Sri Lanka is considered a pioneer in the Asian region championing organically certified tea and cinnamon in the world market. In April 2022 Sri Lanka was awarded its first Geographical Indication (GI) certification for Ceylon Cinnamon by the European Union. The organic food export sector is an important driver of sustainable development and job creation, particularly in rural areas
The IPD regional office in Sri Lanka was established in 2022 funded by the Federal German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). With the aim of promoting fresh and natural product groups, IPD identifies suitable exporters and tour operators in selected developing and emerging countries to integrate the partner countries into international trade. Sri Lanka is one of sixteen partner countries chosen by IPD to support SME companies, where IPD partners with the EDB. Sri Lanka is also one of four IPD hubs where regional offices are maintained, the others being Côte d’Ivoire, Ecuador and Uzbekistan. For BIOFACH 2023, the IPD regional office provided financial assistance for the participation of select Sri Lankan exhibitors. Workshops for exhibitors were organized by the IPD and EDB to improve their networking and marketing skills at the trade fair. Next year’s BIOFACH Trade Fair is scheduled for 13-16 February 2024 in Nuremberg.