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Agri SMEs looking to gain from Europe’s appetite for healthy food choices

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AHK Sri Lanka Chief Delegate Andreas Hergenröther. Pic by Jude Denzil Pathiraja

by Sanath Nanayakkare

Sri Lankan agricultural sector stakeholders and export- oriented SMEs are enthusiastic to showcase their export quality fresh fruits, vegetables and spices at the Fruit Logistica international trade show to be held from February 3-5, 2021 in Berlin.

The German Industry and Commerce Delegation Office in Colombo (AHK Sri Lanka) recently organized a press conference and virtual session to increase awareness in this regard.

The treasurer of the Spice Council of Sri Lanka speaking at the event said that fresh fruits, vegetables and spices are more popular in Europe than ever before which means Sri Lankan agri entrepreneurs should be able to gain from this export trade platform.

“There is a flourishing demand for these items as more and more Europeans are cooking lavish dishes at home in the Covid situation. In this background, Sri Lankan exporters of these commodities have a good opportunity to enhance their visibility in the EU market. The timing is just right. We have our exotic products of high quality which we can display at the Berlin Trade Show, and get the most out of having our presence there. However, we can’t afford to do it on our own because of the cost factor. We are not asking things for free, but if the Agriculture Ministry could chip in with co- funding, our participation at the trade show could become a reality. Anyway, I don’t know if there’s enough time to approve funding for this purpose as the national budget is coming up next month,” he said.

A government agriculture officer who was also part of the webinar said that she would refer the matter to the relevant authorities.

When The Island Financial Review asked how Sri Lanka’s fresh fruits and vegetable exporters can increase their visibility in the European market, Linda Mense (Berlin) Sourcing + Markets Fresh Fruit and Vegetables (Egypt, Ethiopia, Peru, Ukraine) cited Peru as the best example Sri Lanka could take inspiration from. “Peru managed to become prominent in terms of export of fresh fruit to Europe as they had a clear strategy to do so. Peru has come a long way from where it was some 15 years ago. They had a very clear strategy to showcase their fresh produce to the world. They put a lot of effort and also funding into promoting their country pavilion at the Berlin Trade Show, as a result of which Peru has today become one of the most credible and valuable exporting countries for fresh fruits and vegetables in Europe. There’s a lot to learn from Peru’s successful journey in this sphere” she said.

“Moroccan fruits and vegetables are in high demand in Germany. They are certified and fulfill the European standards. They offer different assortment of fruits and vegetables: watermelon, oranges, cantaloupe melon, bell pepper, tomatoes, plum tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, citron, potatoes, onions etc’, AHK Sri Lanka Chief Delegate Andreas Hergenröther told The Island Financial Review.

Europe’s consumers and importers want quality and transparent proof of origin. For this reason Global G.A.P. certification is one of the most important European standards for sustainable production and high food safety which is a must for exporters of fresh fruit and vegetables.

‘Fruit Logistica’ is the world’s leading trade fair for fruits, vegetable and spices attracting more than 3,300 exhibitors from over 90 countries, and more than 72,000 trade visitors from over 135 countries.The trade show offers exhibitors an international platform with total visibility for fresh produce and other agricultural products, while providing opportunity for face-to-face meetings with potential business partners and strengthening existing business relations with suppliers and customers. The trade show in Berlin will also showcase innovative machinery, digitalisation, automation and network technology with special focus on greenhouse technology. During the press conference, AHK Sri Lanka Chief Delegate Andreas Hergenröther highlighted the importance of raising awareness for ‘made in Sri Lanka’ products in international markets, and increasing business opportunities for Sri Lankan fresh fruits and vegetable exporters.

Participating source markets experts pointed out that European consumers are willing to pay extra for sustainable produce and commitment to protecting the environment.

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realme dares to leap into Sri Lankan youth market with cutting edge devices

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realme, the world’s fastest-growing smartphone brand, launched its products in Sri Lanka on the November 23. The virtual launch event took place with the participation of Chanux bro and realme Sri Lanka team where benchmark, trendsetting realme products were introduced to the Sri Lankan market.

The launch expands the reach of the fastest smartphone brand to reach 50 million product sales worldwide, to a brand new market with young users looking for the very best in technology and smart devices. Ranked among the Top 5 brands in over 13 markets globally in just two years of operation, realme is ranked seventh globally. Proclaiming it will ‘dare to leap’, realme identifies with young people who are willing to take a risk, and has launched four cutting edge products to the Sri Lanka market, set to exceed expectations.

realme 7 – sharper captures and cooler gaming with faster charges

realme 7 grabs the imagination of the youth with a 64MP Quad Camera with Sony IMX682 sensor for sharper captures, the World’s First MediaTek Helio G95 Gaming Processor for cool gaming and a 30W Dart Charge, taking just 26 mins to get 5000mAh battery 50% Charged. The sleek smartphone comes with a 6.5-inch 90Hz Ultra Smooth Display with a 16MP In-display Selfie Camera and Starry Mode.

The first smartphone to have passed TÜV Rheinland Smartphone Reliability, realme 7 is the first in segment smartphone with the Sony 64MP Quad Camera.

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President to inaugurate CCC Sri Lanka Economic Summit

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Sri Lanka’s foremost economic summit will be inaugurated by Chief Guest Gotabaya Rajapaksa, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka on December 1. The summit is themed “Roadmap for Take-off: Driving a People Centric Economic Revival”. The President will also deliver the inaugural address.

Mahinda Rajapaksa, Prime Minister of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, will launch the second phase of the summit on December 2 and participate in the VVIP session focused on “Empowering Take-off: Efficient Government and Progressive State Enterprises.”

The Inaugural session on December 1, commencing at 8.30am will feature addresses by keynote speaker Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs of the Republic of India and Guest of Honour Ajith Nivard Cabraal, State Minister of Money and Capital Markets and State Enterprise Reforms. Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya – chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce will deliver the welcome address.

The flagship summit will be held on a virtual format in compliance with health guidelines and will bring together key policymakers, business leaders as well as the input of top international thought leaders will come together to identify the steps in developing the pathway towards the accelerated and people centric revival of the country’s economy.

Participants may register for the entire two-day virtual summit, or pick the sessions of their choice, an opportunity offered for the first time. Registrations for the event are now open. For further information, please contact Niroshini on niroshini@chamber.lk or 0115588852; or Alikie on alikie@chamber.lk or 0115588805. (CCC)

 

 

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Central Bank’s policy rates decision to be driven by two options

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by Sanath Nanayakkare

The Central Bank will be reviewing its monetary policy stance on November 26. In this context, First Capital Research has put forward strong arguments both for and against an interest rate cut, in its Pre-Policy Analysis.

Making their argument against further relaxation in monetary policy First Capital said, “As a response to the measures taken by the government, private sector credit has improved to Rs. 87.4Bn in September while market liquidity reached Rs. 140 bn by 13th Nov indicating that there is surplus liquidity in the system. Moreover, the unemployment rate, which was at 5.7% in the 1Q2020 has declined to 5.4% in the second quarter. These indicators suggest that economic activity has remained steady without much deterioration in the 2Q. Except the GDP growth numbers, where the 2Q2020 figures are yet to be seen, other indicators are signifying a recovery, inquiring the need of further policy easing at the upcoming review”.

“In response to previous monetary easing measures implemented by CBSL, to bring down costs of borrowing of businesses and households, both market deposit and lending rates adjusted notably so far during the year. AWPR declined to historic lows in recent weeks, while banks’ lending rates also witnessed a downward adjustment in line with CBSL’s expectations. We believe that considering the recovery in the private credit and historic low levels in AWPR, there is no vital requirement for CBSL to provide a rate cut and to further bring down the market lending rates drastically”.

Their arguments for further relaxation in monetary policy was: “A thrust for development is the need of the current government. We estimate that Sri Lanka’s GDP would see its steepest contraction in history of -5.8% in 2020 following the unexpected contraction in 1Q GDP growth of -1.6% while 2Q GDP figures are yet to be seen. However, the government’s key drive is the development oriented economic growth which was spelt out through the budget 2021 as well. Accordingly, the government plans to reach 6% and above GDP growth during the next 5 years commencing from 2021. As we believe, a development-oriented budget coupled with further low interest rate environment can support the government’s medium-term goals. Therefore, the need to accelerate the GDP growth can be considered as a major factor favouring further policy easing at the upcoming review.”

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