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Lankapak 2018 concludes with Rs.10Mn initiatives launched to boost SME packaging

Sept 17, 2018 (LBO) - Sri Lanka's Lankapak 2018 concluded over the week-end with strong Indian participation and 10 million rupees initiatives launched to boost SME packaging, competitiveness in the island. “Printing and packaging are important elements in branding Sri Lanka to the global markets, especially for our SMEs striving for international markets," said Rishad Bathiudeen,  minister of industry and Commerce addressing the launch of Lankapak 2018, the 37th International Packaging & Printing Exhibition. "Realising this, we have launched new initiatives to strengthen packaging for our SMEs recently.” The new initiative for SMEs by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce is in two stages and involves 10.3 million rupees and close to 150 SMEs as beneficiaries. The first stage will see around 100 SMEs being trained and equipped in packaging at a cost of 6.2 million rupees and in the next stage (2019) another 50 SMEs will be strengthened in packaging at a cost of 4.5 million rupees. In addition, yet another project is also being planned by the Ministry to build skills for SMEs especially for promotions and market access. A great number of Lankan micro and SME enterprises are active in foods with an estimated 40 percent of local SMEs are based in the food processing sector. Lankan SMEs power more than half the Lankan economy with 35% -40% of total employment. Around 60% of all Lankan enterprises are seen as SMEs. Deputy Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Dr Shilpak Ambule addressing the event said that packaging is as important as the product itself. “Indian packaging industry has become the fifth largest packaging industry in the world. Huge investments in food and FMCGs have boosted the packaging sector in India," "Sri Lankan industries partnering with Indian industries through outsourcing is an asset to India. Considerable volume of Lankan exports to India are in food products-such as tea. The process of recognition of Sri Lankan (food testing) labs by Indians has been a long-standing demand by Lankan industry." The Food Safety and Standard Authority India (FSSAI) is currently working on the certification of Lankan labs, he added "We expect growth of export of food products from Sri Lanka to India even further.” In April 2018, a delegation of Indian officials including CEO of FSSAI Pawan Kumar Agarwal, was in Sri Lanka for a stakeholder consultation workshop on Sri Lankan ‘conformity assessment laboratories to test Indian standards and agreed to consider Sri Lanka Export Development Board’s request to register few such Sri Lankan labs (FSSAI has not registered any labs outside India at the time).
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