Project launched to improve safety, quality of fruits and vegetables



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The project on "Improving Safety and Quality of Sri Lankan Fruits and Vegetables" was launched recently in Colombo. Launch took place in the midst of a large gathering of representatives from the private sector, relevant public sector officials with Anura Siriwardena Secretary, Ministry of Industry and Commerce grazing the occasion as the Guest of honour.


Project is a unique Private public partnership initiated by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) in partnership with the Department of Agriculture (DOA) to improve the safety and quality of Sri Lankan fruits and vegetables. Funding for this project was organized through the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in collaboration with the International Trade Commission (ITC) while the counterpart funding is channeled from the DOA and the CCC. Other main stakeholders include the Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka Standards institute (SLSI), Lanka Fruits and Vegetable Producers Processors Exporters Association (LFVPPEA), the National Agribusiness Council (NAC) and the fruit and vegetable growing farmers.


Sri Lanka has now achieved a status of middle income earning country and the standard of living of the citizens have improved and they are becoming more and more conscious about the quality and safety of food due to health reasons. In this respect the launching of this project is very timely and important. As the country has reached a status of self sufficiency in rice production, the emphasis of the Agriculture sector is moving towards diversifying to other crops such as fruits, vegetables and other field crops.


All fruits and vegetables should conform to international food safety standards to be eligible to be exported to Europe, US, Australia and ASEAN markets. Therefore, exposing and training the local farmers to attain these standards will give them an opportunity to earn a better income and be competitive in a globalised economy.


Project is planning to train quarantine officers with the help of local and international experts on International and European Union Market Phytosanitary standards, Pest Surveillance, Plant Quarantine and International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) training on Pest Risk Analysis. These quarantine officers will train the field level quarantine officers. Project is also planning to train a large number of master trainers from the Department of Agriculture and Provincial Department of Agriculture on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), Post harvest handling, Phytosanitary and safety standards, Pest and Disease Management and other relevant subjects. These master trainers will train another fifty field level trainers. The field level trainers will train one hundred and fifty field level extension agents who in turn will impart this knowledge to four hundred selected farmers.


Project will also conduct workshops to train Public Health Inspectors, Exporters and Processors.


Project website was also launched at the meeting and could be accessed from www: spssrilanka.lk. This website serves as a repository of information and documentation related to the Fruit and Vegetable sector in Sri Lanka with a focus on Quality and Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS).


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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