July 11, 2013 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has to build capacity opportunities to be a processed food exporter, taking a cue from developments that occurred in East Asian nations such as Thailand and Vietnam, an Australia-based economist said. Prema-chandra Athukorale, professor of economics at Australian National University said in Thailand 23 percent of non-oil exports were processed foods and in Vietnam it was 27 percent and in Sri Lanka only 5.0 percent.
He said global food habits were changing and there were opportunities for Asia food exporters.
“When I first went to Australia it was sometimes difficult to get rice,” he told an annual economic policy summit organized by Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.
“But now there is an Asian section in every supermarket, and white Australians buy them.”
In Sri Lanka the Eastern costs which had emerged from a 30-year war presented opportunities for aquaculture, he said.
At the moment Vietnam is helping Sri Lanka prepare a master plan for aquaculture and is also transferring technology to the island through a series of pilot projects.
Athukorale said exports of foods tied in with the current Sri Lanka administrations aim of developing agriculture.