The Lanka Fruit and Vegetable Producer, Processors, and Exporter Association (LFVPPEA) opens up opportunities for value-addition of fruits and vegetables by educating the sector and providing support to compete in the global market.
“Sri Lanka do not have a sufficient land extent for large scale cultivation of fruits and vegetables and as a result cannot be mass suppliers in the global market. Therefore, the country needs to supply to niche markets at a premium prices where low volumes at high prices are possible,” President LFVPPEA Zuraish Hashim said.
We need to find ways to minimize post-harvest losses and use technology to improve productivity. As labour shortage is an issue in many sectors, and in agriculture in particular, the sector needs to take maximum advantage of modern technology to increase output, he said.
Seasonal fruits such as mango, pineapple papaya, passion fruit and banana are given high consideration in the process of value addition.They are export oriented products which should focus on increased output to meet growing global demand. Advanced technology will be used for dehydration of fruits to preserve them for a longer time and reduce wastage.
The findings of a feasibility study for value addition and a strategic plan for LFVPPEA was presented to stakeholders last week in Colombo. More than 40 stakeholders from the private and public sectors, development partners, buyers, international experts gathered together to discuss the findings and create opportunities for working together, and to address the challenges in an inclusive way.
The study found that the market for natural (sugar-free and no preservatives added) and organic dehydrated produce, is growing, and identified at least five products with potential, led by pineapple and mango.
Sri Lanka finds it difficult to take advantage of this growth due to limited availability of raw materials, price, and a greater need to adhere to Good Agricultural Practices (GAP).
Sri Lankan varieties are unique and have potential to be positioned as higher quality products for discerning customers, in both fresh and processed forms, and in particular when dehydrated. This is proved by the establishment of a new partnership with a leading company in Italy in the dehydrating business, Noberasco. After almost three years of engagement and a series of reciprocal visits between Italy and Sri Lanka, Noberasco and the LFVPPEA have signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Colombo on 22 February to join efforts to take the Sri Lanka brand to a higher level.
LFVPPEA has taken a leading role in the development of the F&V sector since 2013 when a project funded by the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC) with the Ceylon Chambers of Commerce and LFVPPEA improved compliance of the fresh F&V from Sri Lanka with quality and food safety requirements. Following within the framework of another project, (funded by the STDF and implemented by LFVPPEA with ITC), the study and the strategy were developed and partnership opportunities opened.
LFVPPEA is now making efforts to work together to exploit the full potential of the partnerships and the uniqueness of Sri Lanka fruits within the global market place, for the benefits of all.