Horticulturists ready to increase foreign exchange earnings | Sunday Observer

Horticulturists ready to increase foreign exchange earnings

30 October, 2022

Horticulture industrialists on Tuesday called on the Government to implement a horticulture development strategic plan which they had formulated, and presented to the authorities about two years ago but was lying dormant in shelves.

Private sector business magnate and Serendib Horticulture Chairman Dilip De Silva said they can raise the bar of foreign exchange they bring into the country by millions from the horticulture exports, and requested the Government place their industry under the Ministry of Agriculture as most countries around the world have done , recognising horticulture as a principle agro-based export enterprise.

He said they want the Government’s facilitation to double their exports. “We are not requesting any funds from the Government for that,” he said.

De Silva was speaking at a panel discussion at the Raffles Residence in Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte on the horticulture industry’s development.

Finance Ministry’s Director General Planning R.W.L Kumarasiri, Agriculture Research Policy Chairman Prof Gamini Senanayaka, Export Development Board Director General Malini Badedegamage, National Botanical Garden Director General Dr. Shelomi Krishnaraja, National Institute of Fundamental Studies Prof. Siril Wijesundara, Peradeniya University’s Agriculture Faculty Prof Buddhi Marambe, Peradniya University’s Agriculture Faculty Crop Science Department Prof Chalitha Beneragamage, Peradeniya University’s Agri Biotec Center Prof Pradeepa Bandaranayaka , Agriculture Department’s Plant Virus Indexing Centre’s Dr Vindhya Basnayaka, Agriculture Research Policy Council’s Senior Research Officer Chandra Padmini, and Netherlands Embassy’s Senior Policy Advisor Nishan Dissanayake participated in the discussion.

These participants agreed that the horticulture industry should be placed under the Agriculture Ministry.

When contacted by the Sunday Observer, officials from the Tourism Ministry, which currently oversees horticulture, said that they, too, believe that horticulture should be placed under the Agriculture Ministry as an export industry. R.W.L Kumarasiri, Director General Planning at the Finance Ministry, said that he will also support the Horticulture Industrialists’ proposal.