The conference “Organic Food Production and Exports by SMEs in Sri Lanka” was held recently.
Organized within the framework of the program “Support for small and medium-sized enterprises in the organic farming sector”; the Multi-Donor Action (MDA) jointly co-funded by the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.
The conference was organized by the European Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka (ECCSL) in partnership with the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Sri Lanka (AHK Sri Lanka).
The main objective of the program is to increase awareness of Sri Lankan organic products in international markets, as well as to improve business opportunities between potential European partners and Sri Lankan companies.
With the overall theme of the event “Sourcing Organically Grown Food Products from Sri Lanka”, the conference followed by B2B matchmaking opportunities attracted over 155 participants covering a diverse group of food industry players. industry reflecting distinct entry routes into agriculture, such as SME traders, exporters, medium to large-scale farmers and others involved in agribusiness.
As part of the initiative, a virtual conference was organized on August 23 where European importers and retailers (including Rewe Far East Limited, Biokorntakt Vertriebs GmbH and Herbaria Kräuterparadies GmbH from Germany, Tradin Organic Agriculture BV from the Netherlands, Renee Voltaire from Sweden, JJM Group from Slovakia and Greenest from Estonia) presented an overview of their businesses and expressed their interest in sourcing organic products such as coconut products, tropical fruits, vegetables and spices, among others, from Sri Lanka.
Country Director of GIZ Sri Lanka and Myanmar, Dr. Petra Mutlu, Chargé d’Affaires, European Union Delegation, Thorsten Bargfrede, Chairman of the Export Development Board, Suresh de Mel, and Chief Delegate of the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Sri Lanka (AHK Sri Lanka), Marie Antonia von Schönburg and the President of the European Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (ECCSL), Arnold Perera were present at the virtual conference.
Senior Professor of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, Professor Buddhi Marambe described the progress and expectations of Sri Lankan organic agriculture standards.
During the roundtable, four experts from international agencies and Sri Lankan industry stakeholders explored the various challenges and opportunities for increasing organic agriculture exports from Sri Lanka to the European market.
The discussion was moderated by Simon Bell of Amba Estate and included insights from representatives of international agencies, including Supply Development Manager, Tradin Organics, Karst Kooistra, Regional Expert, Sri Lanka Import Promotion Office , Linda Mense, Policy Advisor, GIZ SME Sector Development Programme. in Sri Lanka, Dr. Chatura Rodrigo and the President and Founder of Design Logics, Dammikka Siriwardhana.
Managing Director of Control Union Sri Lanka, Roshan Ranawake, highlighted the importance of obtaining certifications implemented in partnership with: Delegation of German Industry and Trade Lanka when exporting to the European Union ( EU) and discussed the processes required to achieve certification, highlighting the “cluster” certification available to many small businesses.
To strengthen economic and commercial ties between Sri Lankan SMEs and European importers of organic farming products, specialized B2B matchmaking meetings with European importers were organized for 30 Sri Lankan SMEs who qualified for the opportunity. according to the criterion of European buyers such as product portfolio, EU organic certification status and other certifications and standards.