July 02, 2009 (LBO) – The head of Sri Lanka’s Chemical Industries (Colombo) (CIC) said the company’s investments in agriculture proved it was profitable but investors should target niche, high-value products as land was limited. The company arranges visits to farms for people interested in entering the sector and also train about 1,000 farmers a year on its two farms.
CIC’s businesses include agriculture and livestock, manufacturing and selling agro-chemicals, paints, polythene PVC extruded products.
The company last year bought a canned food producing firm. B R L Fernando, non-executive chairman of CIC, said more investment relief was needed because, while agriculture profits were tax free, they were long gestation investments that tied up cash flows for lengthy periods.
“There’s a need for government support because we need to get agricultural production going as fast as possible,” he told an investor forum organised by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce on reviving the island’s economy with the end of the 30-year ethnic war.
The government declared victory over the Tamil Tigers in May after a lengthy military campaign and is trying to encourage investments into the war-ravaged north and east.