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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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AkzoNobel honours students of City School of Architecture at Colour Awards 2021-2022

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– Annual design competition celebrates young design talent for fourth year running

AkzoNobel Paints Lanka (Pvt) Ltd., in partnership with the City School of Architecture (CSA), honoured the winners of the Colour Awards 2021-2022 at the CSA Graduation & Awards Ceremony held recently at the BMICH.

A partnership initiated four years ago by the producer of Dulux paints in Sri Lanka, the annual competition hopes to raise the bar of design and innovation standards and encourage young creative talent as important future players in a fast-evolving industry.

Every year the prize invites first year students from the City School of Architecture to face a new colour and architecture-themed design challenge. After several mentoring sessions by the academic staff of CSA -namely Archt. Nela de Zoyza, Archt. Anurangi Mendis, and Archt. Shayan Kumaradas-, participants are then required to produce a final submission and present it to a high-profile selection committee.

This year, each submission was reviewed by a star-studded panel of industry specialists, including Mr. Romesh de Silva, Ms. Charmaine Mendis, Archt. Shevanthi Basnayake, Archt. Kosala Weerasekera, Archt. Rehan Thillakeratne, and Archt Nandika Denipitiya, together with the Managing Director of AkzoNobel Paints in Sri Lanka, Mr. Wasantha Heenatigala.

Following a rigorous judging process, the five most impressive submissions were chosen, with winners being conferred a generous cash reward, as well the prestige of having being recognized by the pioneers of the paint manufacturing industry in Sri Lanka and the world.

Speaking at this year’s ceremony, Upendra Gunawardhana, Head of Marketing of AkzoNobel Sri Lanka commented, “As a leading global paints and coating company, we are convinced that in helping develop and highlight emerging talent, we are also playing a crucial role in shaping the future of the industry. With the Colour Awards we hope to provide a platform through which university students can hone their design thinking skills on an industry level, while at the same time also consistently set benchmarks of innovation for the years to come.”

“Over the years AkzoNobel has played a significant role in supporting the educational growth and creative development of our students through its Colour Awards,” said Archt. Professor Lal Balasuriya, Head of School of the City School of Architecture. “Here, young design aspirants are given the chance to test the limits of both, their creative ingenuity and industry acumen, and we’re sincerely grateful to AkzoNobel for this transformative opportunity.”

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Emirates and Dilmah Tea celebrate 30 years of partnership

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Dubai, UAE, May 2022 – Emirates and Dilmah Tea have enjoyed a longstanding partnership of brewing the finest teas on board and in Emirates’ airport lounges around the world for the past 30 years. To mark the milestone on International Tea Day, all Emirates’ passengers received a special tea box when they flew from Dubai a few days ago.

 In addition, First Class passengers on flights to the UK were treated to a food pairing, while passengers in the Emirates’ Onboard Lounge were offered Dilmah Tea infused mocktails. The special tea pack for all passengers who flew on Saturday contained three different flavours: Ceylon Breakfast, an Emirates exclusive Turmeric Coconut and Vanilla tea, and the popular Earl Grey with Honey.

 In First Class, Emirates offered the Brilliant Breakfast, one of the many gourmet teas created by passionate Tea Maker and Dilmah founder, Merrill J. Fernando. This was paired with the afternoon tea service on board.

 Moroccan Mint Green tea was exquisitely paired alongside Labneh – a tangy and creamy yoghurt – with roast vegetables for vegetarians. While Dilmah’s Sench Green Extra Special tea – renowned for its delicate taste with herbal finish with a touch of sweetness –  was served with sushi, particularly seafood.

 “Emirates focuses on dishes that emphasise fresh ingredients of the highest quality. We pay special attention to every detail and the quality of the tea we offer our customers is no different. The fact that we have served Dilmah Tea for 30 years across all our cabins is proof of its quality and our satisfaction with the perfect cup of tea.

“We have an exceptional partnership with Dilmah and we have grown in tandem for the last 30 years. Over 9.6 million tea bags are used each year across our fleet with more than 10 tea varieties on offer, including an exclusive Emirates Signature Tea served in First Class,” said Thomas Ney, DSVP, Service Delivery at Emirates.

 Dilhan C. Fernando, son of Dilmah Founder and CEO of the family company explained: “For 30 years we have grown a tea inspired collaboration with Emirates, offering customers a uniquely Emirates experience in tea. To celebrate the Pearl Anniversary of our partnership in tea, we made a tea that is as rare as it is magnificent. A seasonal tea with extraordinary finesse, handpicked from tea bushes prepared for months and crafted into a numbered limited-edition tea.

“Our co-operation with Emirates truly presents the luxury in fine tea, and – in our tea mocktails and food pairings – contemporary, tea inspired hospitality. For the last 30 years we have created these unique moments for Emirates customers either on the ground, in its lounges around the world, or at 40,000 feet and this year is no different. We are excited to have the special 30-year blend on board Emirates’ fleet.”

A world-class partnership

Millions of world class cups of tea have been poured for Emirates’ customers since the airline’s partnership with Dilmah began in 1992.

The airline brings the finest products on board through long standing partnerships worldwide, including support for local suppliers and artisans. Emirates takes the Dilmah brand to more than 130 destinations on six continents.

 The teas offered on Emirates are chosen by popularity amongst customers, catering to different preferences like minty or citrus infusions as well as by looking at tea drinking trends. With an increasing focus on wellness amongst customers, the airline recently introduced a new tea in its airport lounges – Turmeric, coconut and vanilla featuring antioxidant properties.

 On board, the most popular tea in Economy Class is the Dilmah Ceylon Black Tea while passengers in First and Business Class favour Moroccan Mint and Breakfast Tea. Emirates serves a selection of six teas in Business Class and its airport lounges, and a further six teas in First Class.

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Wing Commander (Retd.) D. Pradeep S. Kannangara elected president, Industrial Security Foundation

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The Industrial Security Foundation (ISF) which acts as the sole organization in Sri Lanka to represent the Private Security industry having incorporated by an Act passed in the Parliament, Act No. 51 of 1999, elected Wing Commander (Retd.) Pradeep Kannangara as its President for the years 2022/2023 at its 30th annual General Meeting which was held at the PIM Auditorium in Borella. Wing Commander Pradeep Kannangara was appointed President while 14 other members were appointed to the Executive Committee, strengthening the ISF in order to drive and uplift the standards of the private security industry in Sri Lanka.

He has served on the ExCo consecutively since 2012 under four different presidents where he held the positions of Senior Vice President during the last three consecutive years. He has also been a committed member of the ISF and was awarded prestigious coveted FISF title due to his many valuable contributions to the organization and the Private Security Industry in Sri Lanka in 2012.

Wing Commander Kannangara’s journey into private security began after a successful career in the Sri Lanka Air Force for over 24 years where he served in many capacities finally being the Officer Commanding of the Special Air Borne Force. A recipient of the Ranasura Padakkama (RSP) Gallantry award for his bravery, sacrifices and service to the nation by the President of the Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka in 1990. He holds a Master’s in business management from the Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia too and serves as a Board Director in AB Securitas (Private) Limited in Sri Lanka and AB Securitas Bangladesh Limited.

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