Booming tourism, local demand seen threat to Sri Lanka fruit exports
ECONOMYNEXT – The boom in tourism and local consumption is posing a threat to Sri Lanka fruits and vegetable export industry which cannot find enough supply to meet demands of overseas buyers, an official said.
“The opportunities are plenty; the global market is opening up,” said Annes Junaid, outgoing chairman of the Lanka Fruits & Vegetable Producers, Processors & Exporters’ Association.
“Selling is the least of our problems, exporting and finding the market for the produce is also the least of our problems,” he told the association’s 35th Annual General Meeting. “Finding the produce to export is the biggest problem we face right now.”
Junaid said the industry has entered a “completely different phase” with unanticipated growth in local consumption owing to increasing tourist arrivals as well as domestic demand.
Usually the industry has faced many threats in the past, mostly from external sources, he said.
“But recently with some of the good things which are taking place in the country such as the booming tourism sector has unfortunately turned out to be an external threat to the fresh fruit export industry and processed industry,” Junaid said.
“I think our tourism has grown so much, I don’t think anyone envisaged this growth so much where the local industry and tourism as a whole is consuming so much fruits and vegetables.”
Tourists and locals were consuming the portion of production which could have gone into the fresh fruit export market or into the processed industry, Junaid said.
“Local consumption has also increased and it has taken a sizeable portion out of the export and processed industry.”
Bad weather together with the upsurge in local demand has created what he called “a short term threat” to the industry.
Junaid said the industry was looking at ways of increasing production.
(COLOMBO, Sept 26, 2016)