Ceylon Chamber of Commerce’s key recommendations for agriculture and fishery

Friday, 1 November 2019 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce recently launched a working draft of ‘Sri Lanka Economic Acceleration Framework 2020-25’ towards building a $ 135 billion economy by 2025. Today we feature the Agriculture Working Group proposals from the document



Rizvi Zaheed,

Director, Vidullanka PLC

Members of the working Group:

Prof. Buddhi Marambe,

Director, Agriculture Education Unit at the University of Peradeniya

Mrs. Dawn Austin,

Managing Director, Nidro Supply Ltd.

Bandula Egodage,

VP – Corporate Affairs and

Communications, Nestlé Lanka PLC

Dr. A. Shakthevale,

Director, Lanka Dairies Ltd.

Chithral Munaweera,

Consultant, The All Island Dairy Association

Colonel Channa Weeratunga,

Executive Director, Global Fisheries Ltd.

Irfan Thassim,

Founder/Director, Oceanpick Ltd.

All-Island Dairy Association




  • National Agriculture Policy to focus on promoting self sufficiency of the six main crops – paddy, maize, mung bean, chili, onion and potato.
  • Updating regulations and acts such as the Seed Act, Land Reform Act and Paddy Land Act Introduction of a Plant Varieties Protection Act in order to encourage the import of different varieties of plant material required by industries.
  • Implementation of quality standards as minimum requisites (GAP) to bolster sustainable practices and food safety.
  • Focusing on export fruit crops in order to improve Sri Lanka’s image as an exotic fruit exporter.
  • Reformation of transportation and storage for agricultural produce to minimise post-harvest losses through the use of reusable crates, knowledge sharing and the use of cold chains.



  • Conduct education programs and seminars to increase awareness of technology adoption, fertiliser application, crop variety development and crop rotation.
  • Establish farmer companies/organisations/cooperatives to bolster economies of scale, crop variety development and improve knowledge sharing.
  • Improve awareness of agriculture and primary industry sector among the youth to increase participation in the industry.
  • Facilitate use of railway for long distance logistics and the use of plastic/corrugated crates.
  • Consolidate Ministry of Agriculture functions and departments for ease of policy roll out and ownership.
  • Project on creating more parent stock, improving access to parent stock of export fruits as well as granting approval to import high quality parent stock. (Note 06)
  • Develop the use of sea freight for transporting identified agricultural produce in order to reduce risk of pests.


Public investment (projects and activities required)

  • Implementation of a Land Use Plan and Land Data Bank with details and specifications of the specific areas.
  • Investment in quarantine services to conduct pest risk analysis which would aid imports and exports
  • Branding and marketing programs and exhibitions to better position the country’s exports in the international arena.
  • Awareness and education programs for exporters to focus more on value added exports instead of raw produce exports (canning, drying, organic production, etc.)
  • Establishing water management and irrigation in dry zone regions in the country.

Key Performance Indicators Expectations for 2025

Improvement in yield of the six major crops 26% on average for each crop

Improvement in the yield of export fruit crops 50% on average

Agricultural sector as a percentage of exports (non plantation/non value added produce)

ICT tool usage rate - active farmer users using applications. (proven successful in the fisheries industry) 50% of registered farmers

Percentage of agricultural produce transported via railway 10%

Percentage of companies compliant with Good Agricultural Practices [GAP] 50-60%




Formulating a National Fisheries and Seafood Strategy, export plan and a roadmap that the Ministry of Policy Planning, Ministry of Fisheries, BOI and EDB have to undertake. Regulation and quality control mechanisms as well as the adoption of Best Aquatic and Fisheries Practices (BAP) for fisheries.

  • Re-examine the Food Act/Fisheries Act and make necessary amendments to liberalise Sri Lankan seafood export industry.
  • Explore the possibilities for trade and agreements with countries such as USA, Japan and the EU to improve ease of access to markets.
  • Initiate fisheries agreements with neighbouring countries such as Seychelles, Mauritius, Maldives etc. for Sri Lanka to export directly as opposed to returning to Sri Lanka 
  • (Note 04).
  • Removal of Government enterprise control and dependency of exportoriented businesses.
  • Provision of incentives for new projects such as marine aquaculture and aquaculture farming.



  • Mechanise available small long line vessels fishing in the EEZ.
  • Upgrading a selected number (100-200) vessels with a winch and long line would enable boats to return sooner after fishing with a larger volume of export quality fish.
  • Introducing collection vessels, onboard frozen fishing vessels as well as equipping the larger boats (40-55ft) with Refrigerated Sea Water (RSW) facilities.
  • Establishment of an advisory committee with the participation of the Seafood Exporters Association of Sri Lanka. This would enable members actively involved in seafood exports to contribute towards the development of the industry.
  • Usage of cold storage facilities as well as the use of rail transport as a faster method of delivering fresh produce.

Public investment (projects and activities required)

  • Introducing new technology to the fishing industry to improve the efficiency of fishing operations.
  • Minimising post-harvest losses that are at a significant level due to improper transportation and storage.
  • Industry-controlled Research & Development unit including hatcheries to improve knowledge-base.
  • Recognition and empowerment of fisheries and seafood industrial organisations to operate on par with EU and other international bodies.

Key Performance Indicators 2019 2025

  • Percentage of companies and fisheries compliant with best aquatic and fisheries practices – 75%
  • Number of small long-line vessels upgraded with a winch and long-line 25 100
  • Post-harvest loss – % of produce lost per annum 40% <10%
  • Volume of fisheries-related produce transported via railway (%) 10% 50%
  • Increasing the proportion of inland and aquaculture fish production as a percentage of total fish production:
  • Inland and aquaculture
  • Wild capture fisheries