The National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka (NCE) led a business delegation to the Northern and Eastern Provinces (Vavuniya, Kilinochchi, Jaffna and Trincomalee) from 21 to 23 June.
The Chamber carried out this visit in collaboration with the Regional Chambers in the relevant districts, The ‘Via Village Center’ in Vauniya and the Local Empowerment through Economic Development (LEED) Project of the International Labour Organization (ILO).
The main objectives of the event were to link NCE member exporters with growers and producers in the North (Vavuniya and Kilinochchi Districts) and to promote the NCE Annual Export Awards among the Regional Chambers (Jaffna and Trincomalee) to encourage especially Regional SMEs to showcase their achievements among prospective buyers.
The President, Secretary General, Assistance Secretary together with a few NCE staff were part of this delegation.
The delegation consisted of 11 exporters representing eight export companies. Their export requirements comprised of organic products, fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, palmyrah products, and processed foods. The following representatives of companies comprised the delegation.
Srimathi Narandeniya, Deputy Director of the Agriculture Division of The Sri Lankan Export Development Board (EDB) also joined the delegation. She made a presentation on Export Procedures to the Fruit and Vegetable Producers in the Kilinochchi area. It was translated to Tamil by the Chamber to gap the language barrier. It was highly appreciated by the participants, as they were able to clarify issues related to export procedures.
The ‘Via Village Entrepreneurs Centre’ in Vavuniya, a US certified non-profit organisation funded by Canadian citizens, and consists of farmers and producers in the Vavuniya district. The Objective of this organisation is to ensure the local empowerment of farmers in the Santhipuram area. S. Thevathas, Business Consultant of the Centre made a presentation introducing the Via Village Centre, the nature of its operations, and the support expected from the exporters. The interactions among participants were beneficial to clarify issues brought up by exporters and producers.
The NCE together with the ILO LEED Project team also conducted an awareness program for the producers in the North which was held at the Friends Inn Hotel, Kilinochchi, at which more than 40 producers were present. Nihal Devagiri Head of the ILO LEED Project, Vasu and Viknesh represented the ILO LEEDs project team. The program which was conducted in both English and Tamil, also comprised short field visits arranged by the ILO team for the delegates.
Thereafter the exporters and producers discussed the benefits as well as the improvements which are needed by both parties to build successful business linkages. These discussions were led by the ILO officials.
Under a separate component of the program the NCE officials visited the Jaffna and Trincomalee District Chambers of Commerce and Industries, for the purpose of promoting participation of their member enterprises as applicants at the NCE Annual Exports Awards especially the SMEs to enable them to showcase their successes to attract prospective buyers. In this regard it is noteworthy that the Chamber proposes to present Special Awards this year to Regional Enterprises.
At the discussions conducted with the Yalpanam Chamber of Commerce and Industries in Jaffna, organised by the Chairman of the Chamber Jerusan, four exporters and potential exporters companies participated. In addition to explaining the structure and application procedure for regional entities, knowledge on export procedures was also provided.
At the meeting with the Chamber of Commerce and Industries of Trincomalee organised by the Chairman of the Chamber Kuladeepan, 11 export as well as potential export companies participated. They too were provided the same knowledge as in the case of the Yalpanam Chamber.
NCE Export Awards closing date of applications extended due to unprecedented interest
The Annual Export Awards of the National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka (NCE) which is the most awaited business event related to exports and which is of national significance is scheduled to be held on 29 September at the Hilton Colombo.
The event this year is of special significance as it is the 25th anniversary (Silver Jubilee) incorporating special features and additional special awards.
The NCE in its previous communications to members and other stakeholders has informed applicants that selection of award winners this year will not be based mainly on export performance, with special emphasis given to other aspects related to exports, including participation in export value chains, environmental aspects, management aspects, differentiation of products and services, impact on other stakeholders, etc.
Further, due to the general global downturn in international trade, which is reflected in the general performance of Sri Lankan Exporters as well, may necessitate the Panel of Judges to re-evaluate the benchmarks for the selection of award winners to reflect global trading conditions.
As such due to the unprecedented interest from prospective applicants the Chamber has extended the deadline for applicants to 28 July, to provide a fair opportunity to showcase their achievements.
The program was concluded with field visits by the delegates to papaya and passion fruit cultivations in the Kilinochchi area, to the packing house established by CR Exports in Kilinochchi who is a well-established exporter of fruits and vegetables, and finally a visit to a herbal tea producer and exporter in the same area with a view to establish business partnerships, if the samples provided were acceptable by the prospective buyers.
The Chamber appreciates the contribution made by the EDB by joining the delegation, since the work of the Chamber complements the services provided by the EDB to develop and promote exports to achieve national objectives. This relates not only to the efforts of the EDB to link producers to established exporters, but will also enable the development of new exporters, under the programme to increase the number of registered exporters by at least 2000, to enhance overall exports from Sri Lanka.