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Fundamentals of European standards and certification systems explained to agri-exporters



In the pursuit of empowering the Sri Lanka Agri Exporting community, the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Germany successfully held the 4th of the series of webinars organized in collaboration with the Import Promotion Desk of Germany (IPD) and Export Development Board of Sri Lanka (EDB) recently on the topic “EU Standards and Certifications for Agri Products Sector” with special focus on Organic Products, Lankan Embassy in Berlin said.

Commencing the Webinar, Ambassador Manori Unambuwe expressed her sincere appreciation for the continued cooperation of the EDB and IPD to empower Sri Lankan agri export community, especially at a time when the nation is striving to increase its’ export potential in the agri food products sector amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. She further commended the exporters for their sustained enthusiasm in learning how to navigate the path in accessing and expanding their market in Germany and wider EU over the past five months.

The keynote speaker, Value Chain Expert and external consultant of IPD Brigitte Boor, walked the audience through the fundamentals of the European standards and certification systems for agri product sector followed by qualitative statistical analysis on constantly changing architecture, as well as trends, latest best practices and draw-ups from the international export community. Value Chain Expert and external consultant of IPD Boor shared her expertise extensively on technical standards for agri products with in-depth explanations on contamination levels of unhygienic elements in products, maximum residual levels for pesticides and chemical requirements for value addition of products such as flavorings. The speaker also elaborated on the “Rapid Alert System” of the EU for agri products and its function and uniformity in maintenance of the highest levels of food safety standards across the EU market.

The hour-long presentation and interactive Q&A session with over 100 participants, provided the Sri Lankan exporters the input required to maximize their potential in the EU marketspace.

International Trade Consultant of the IPD hub based in Colombo Linda Mense, moderated the expert forum and Director General, Export Development Board Chitranjali Dissanayake in her concluding remarks, extended appreciation to all stakeholders of the webinar programme. The next webinar of the Embassy Series will be on the topic of “Sustainable Supply Chains and Due Diligence” which is scheduled for December 2021.

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Forex crisis will lead to power cuts, warns Ranil



Udaya pooh-poohs warning

By Saman indrajith

UNP leader and former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday told Parliament that the country would face power cuts soon if the government did not resolve the foreign exchange crisis urgently.

Participating in the third reading debate on Budget 2022, the UNP leader said the forex issue could result in Sri Lanka running out of money to import fuel.

Wickremesinghe called on the government to make a statement on the current situation.

The UNP leader pointed out that Sri Lanka had only Rs. 1.5 billion in foreign reserves, out of which Rs. 300 million were gold reserves, which meant only Rs. 1.2 billion was the liquid amount in foreign reserves.

The former PM said the low foreign reserves could lead to the country facing power issues in the future as there would be no funds left for fuel imports. However, the Minister of Power, Udaya Gammanpila, assured that Sri Lanka had enough fuel stocks.

The Minister said it was reasonable for people to assume that there would be power cuts in the future due to the foreign exchange crisis.

Reiterating that Sri Lanka had necessary fuel stocks, Minister Gammanpila said the fuel in hand was sufficient for the next 40 days.

Although the Sapugaskanda Oil refinery had been closed for 50 days, measures would be taken to resume operations at an early date, the Minister added, assuring that the foreign exchange crisis would not result in power cuts.

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State Minister Ranasinghe assures farmers using organic fertiliser compensation in event of losses



Provincial Councils and Local Government State Minister Roshan Ranasinghe speaking at a meeting held at the auditorium of the Polonnaruwa District Secretariat yesterday

Provincial Councils and Local Government State Minister Roshan Ranasinghe yesterday assured that the government would compensate any paddy farmer who suffered losses due to adopting organic fertiliser.

Speaking at a meeting held at the auditorium of the Polonnaruwa District Secretariat, the Minister said that even if the government had not proposed to allocate funds in the Budget proposals for possible losses to paddy farmers using organic fertiliser, funds would be obtained from a supplementary estimate for the purpose.

Ranasinghe said that it was wrong to state that the government shifted from chemical to organic fertiliser abruptly. The government had promised to do so in its election manifesto and people had approved it by giving a two-third majority of votes for that. The UNP too had planned to adopt organic fertilisers in place of chemical fertilisers some 30 years back.

The State Minister said that during the past 30 years all the governments had spent billions of rupees to increase awareness of organic fertilisers among officials and the general public. In addition, there had been numerous projects introduced with the assistance of the World Bank to promote organic cultivation in the country.

Minister Ranasinghe said that there were chemical fertilisers, weedicides and pesticides and there was information that some traders sell them at exorbitant prices. The government would get the Consumer Affairs Authority and police to implement the law against the black marketers.

He said that some farmers had raised concern that nano-nitrogen fertiliser would be washed away owing to the heavy rains, but the government would supply that fertiliser again as it was promised by State Minister of Organic Fertilizer Sashindra Rajapaksa.

The meeting was attended by ministry officials and representatives of the farmers’ associations in the Polonnaruwa District.

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Arjuna quits UNP



World Cup winning captain and former minister Arjuna Ranatunga yesterday quit the UNP over its failure to get its act together

Ranatunga has communicated his decision to leave the UNP to the Leader, Secretary, Deputy Leader, and the Assistant Leader of the UNP.

Ranatunga said, in a letter to the UNP leadership, that he decided to join the United National Front ahead of the 2015 presidential election to make a change for the common good.

He has said as the first step towards that objective he contested the 2015 general election and secured the highest number of votes from the Gampaha District.

Ranatunga said that when many left the party in 2020, he remained with the UNP in order to protect it.

He said in 2020 the UNP suffered a massive loss, “and what is required is to prepare a programme to overcome the present and future challenges”.

“However, as there seems to be no such preparation there appears to be no purpose in remaining with the party”, Ranatunga said.

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