Sri Lanka could touch US$ one billion export mark in fruits and vegetables and all processed items with the high demand from China and the EU markets.
But supply is not available cope with the demand, Lanka Fruits and Vegetable Producers and Exporters Association President Annas Junaid said. “Last year we exported US$ 350 million worth of fruits and vegetables and this year it could reach more than US$ 500 million. But due to the every high demand for pineapple and other fruits and vegetables including processed items, we could not cater to the demand,” Junaid told at their 34th Annual General Meeting held on Wednesday.
He said the fruit and vegetable sector exports also growing at an alarming pace and unfortunately the sector has a limited growth due to the lack of farmlands in the country.
“At present new vistas are opening in the sector due to the high demand from China and EU markets. We need to discuss with the government to release more cultivable, barren and abandoned lands for the cultivation of fruits and vegetables targeting exports,” Junaid said.
At present Sri Lanka exports more than US$ 500 million worth of fruits, vegetables. The use of excessive fertiliser and chemicals will affect the export market.
Recently Saudi Arabia banned import of Indian green chilli from India due to the excessive use of chemicals. If Sri Lanka needs to capture the EU and Chinese markets,the use of chemicals should be fully banned within the country, he said.
Ceylon Chamber CEO and Director General Mangala Yapa said the agriculture sector’s contribution to the national GDP is 10 percent. Since the exports are come down during the last few years by encouraging more fruits, vegetable and process food items, targeting exports will help the economy in the country, he said.