Bathiudeen was addressing the inauguration event of the ‘Pro Food Pro Pack International Exhibition 2012’ yesterday at the BMICH, Colombo. The 11th in the series of exhibitions, Pro Foods Pro Pack & Agbiz 2012" the most comprehensive agriculture based processed food /packaging exhibition is back with a new look with a complete one stop shop solution, this years’ theme being "From the Farm to the Kitchen".
The exhibition had only 46 companies taking part when it began in 2001, and today has 217 firms participating from Sri Lanka, India, Italy, and Pakistan-as well as an SME pavilion for the growing importance of SMEs and a special pavilion by food and packaging industry of Kerala, India. Among the 217 participating firms and organisations are the High Commission of Canada, Adamjee, Alli, CIC, Ceylon Biscuits, CMC Engineering Exports GmbH, EDNA Confectionaries, Elephant House, JAGRO Ltd, Maliban Biscuits, MAS Tropical Foods, Italy’s PIGO SRL, Brown & Co PLC, API Machinery, Harischandra Mills, Good Value Eswaran Ltd, Currymate, Nelna, Micro Cars, MA’s Tropical Food, MAI S.A (from Argentina), Mahima Foliage, A. Baur Co, Hindustan Hing Supplying, Tinpak Pvt Ltd, Unilever Lipton Ceylon Ltd, Patkol (from Thailand), Vezirkopru Orman (from Turkey), Institute of Agro Technology of University of Colombo, Gatronova Novatex (Pakistan) and Yamato Scale India Ltd.
"We believe that this sector to be fast growing in our exports which shows high potential for further expansion. My Ministry is keen on giving maximum support to develop this industry. We are working closely with the private sector through the advisory committees to identify development needs and implement appropriate programmes. We believe more attention needed on research and development, certification and testing, staff training while certain changes also, needed in the area of fiscal policies. We also believe biotechnology and eco-farming can assist us to expand our processed food sector to the next level.
Mario De Alwis, Chairman of the Processed Food Development Initiative, the top independent food Industry facilitator, praised the Ministry of Industry and Commerce for its continued efforts to sustain the sector. "Michael Porter, the competitiveness guru once said that sustainable competitive advantage is not only in making the most from a country’s environment. Firms must work together and collaborate to create a competitive base to launch their products to the global economy. Though this statement was made during the height of globalisation, in today’s global downturn, this collaboration should not only extend among industry players but all key player in the supply chain-that is the state, industry and the political community. Thanks to the efforts of the Ministry of Industry & Commerce over the last 11 years, we managed to bring the farmers, industry and political community together here. Collaboration has become even more important in the current economic climate" De Alwis explained.