Sri Lankan authorities to set up US$ 3.5 million laboratory to test spice exports
United Nations Industrial Development Organization official has reportedly said that Sri Lanka’s Industrial Development Board (IDB), in partnership with multilateral agencies, is in the process of installing a US$ 3.5 million laboratory in a bid to reduce export costs of spices.
“Some of the equipment for the food testing lab have already arrived at the IDB, and some training has been provided, but it’s not yet fully operational,” UNIDO India Field Office Representative Rene van Berkel has told EconomyNext.
He has said the European Union (EU) is funding the project and that once the laboratory is set up, it will reduce shipment rejections for spice exporters, and reduce costs of testing consignments for food safety.
Spices were Sri Lanka’s seventh largest export with US$ 312.5 million in revenue for 2019.
A detailed assessment was conducted to ascertain the testing capabilities and requirements in Sri Lanka, van Berkel has said. “Previously, exporters had to send samples to Europe or to India for testing.”
IDB had some capacity to test samples, but the most common internationally recognized tests were not available, he has said.
“So, we are trying to ensure that the most common tests are possible in Sri Lanka. Some of the very advanced tests would still have to be done elsewhere. But many of the tests are for example, checking on the absence of certain chemicals or bugs.”
Accordingly, the food testing will be available for spices, with a specific focus on cinnamon while spices in powder or paste form will also be tested.
Sri Lankan spices are among the key export commodities of the country. Sri Lankan authorities are engaged in further boosting Sri Lanka’s exports sector, especially the spice industry. Therefore the setting up of the proposed laboratory would result in ensuring that Sri Lanka exports the highest quality spices to the global market. Given the many trade agreements as well as trade concessions enjoyed by the country, Sri Lanka’s exports sector, especially spice exports will have an advantage when entering foreign markets. Foreign businesses could therefore explore business opportunities in Sri Lanka’s spice exports sector.
|Article Code :||VBS/AT/20200305/Z_3|