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Chief Regulatory Officer at CSE Renuke Wijayawardhane presenting the listing certificate to Executive Chairperson at Renuka Hotels Shibani Thambiayah

Nov 13, 2009 (LBO) – Intellectual property protection in Sri Lanka is still to weak to encourage companies to do research and develop new crop varieties with better yields, an agri-business company official said.

“IP rights laws do not have provision to register agricultural innovations,” said Samantha Ranatunga, chief executive of the listed Chemical Industries (Colombo).

“This needs to be rectified on a priority basis because it is critical that organisations which do research must be able to protect their innovations.”

The lack of IP protection was holding back development in the sector and discouraging new investments in research that could benefit the island’s farmers.

“We introduced certain varieties, spent large sums of money but we find we do not have protection,” Ranatunga told a recent public forum.

“We need support for innovation – protection of intellectual property rights. Today, you cannot patent an agricultural innovation so companies are not motivated.”

The forum was organised by the Pathfinder Foundation under its ‘Sanvada’ (dialogue) programme to focus on policy recommendations for enhancing productivity and competitiveness of agribusiness.

“So we cannot give