The Lanka Fruit and Vegetable Producers, Processors and Exporters Association (LFVPPEA) signed a memorandum of understanding with the Agriculture Sector Modernisation Project (ASMP) recently in Jaffna.
ASMP is a World Bank Project under the Ministry of Agriculture with wide objectives within the Sri Lankan agricultural field. Acknowledging the intention of the two parties in establishing a framework for co-operation and mutual assistance in modernising agriculture in the country, believing that such co-operation would achieve the aim of facilitating the technical exchange of knowledge, establishment of 'Nucleus Estates,' engagement with farmer beneficiaries of the ASMP, of tropical fresh fruits, namely bananas, mangoes, papayas, MD-2 pineapples and white guava, which are known as the targeted fruits in the project. The effective export promotion and marketing of the targeted fruits will improve the exports of such fruits.
The main objectives of this project are: Increase in production of the targeted fruits through improved agricultural productivity and quality - with a specific focus on exports; develop and implement a Nucleus Estate (explained in note 1) concept for commercial growers within the LFVPPEA to work together with groups of out-growers made up of ASMP farmer beneficiaries grouped in ASMP Clusters; introduce modern pack houses to improve product quality and reduce post-harvest losses of the targeted fruits in the ASMP Districts only; improve quality and safety of the available production of the targeted fruits; provide linkages between producers, members of the LFVPPEA and international buyers of the targeted fruits; and facilitate exports by sea freight of the targeted fruits.
The project will endeavour to take necessary steps to encourage and promote co-operation in the following areas: (a) Technical cooperation; (b) Develop a Nucleus Estate concept for commercial growers; (c) To develop market opportunities between potential international markets and international businesses for the targeted fruits.
LFVPPEA Chairman Suresh Ellawala said: "Signing of the MOU with the Agriculture Modernisation Project reflects the alignment of strategies between the State and private sector. Further, it reflects the commitment of both parties to expand exports, while including the small-scale settler farmer in the export agriculture value chain."
ASMP Project Director Dr. Rohan Wijekoon said: "Agriculture sector modernisation is not only the introduction of modern agriculture technology to Sri Lanka, but also aligning strategies on productivity enhancement focusing the national and international market through sustainable farmer companies. The MOU with LFVPPEA is one of the attempts to modernise the agriculture sector in this endeavour."
The MOU signed between ASMP and LFVPPEA would give a further boost to the country's growing export market. Given the growth in Sri Lanka's exports industry, perishable exporters, processors, growers, retail chains, agri investors, agro-tech investors could explore opportunities in the sector.