President Maithripala Sirisena pointed out the need of a dynamic plan to increase the agricultural exports, while endorsing quantitative and qualitative standards of the agricultural crops.
He made these remarks addressing the 45th Annual Session of the International Pepper Community held at the Earl’s Regency, Kandy, today (30).
President Sirisena said that in the journey of taking forward of the country, once again to the golden era of Agricultural economy, the field of the pepper industry is an important sector. He also said that the Government is taking steps to strengthen the pepper farmers and towards the development of this industry. Even though pepper prices decreased recently, the government took measures to provide the necessary reliefs to the Pepper farmers, the President added.
The President said that many programmes were included in the National Food Production Programme as well as in the Gramashakthi People’s Movement launched by the government to develop the local agricultural industry, to develop the pepper industry.
Known as the “King of Spices”, pepper is the most important spice traded internationally. The International Pepper Community (IPC) is an intergovernmental organization of pepper producing countries. The Community now includes India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam as permanent members and Papua New Guinea, Philippines as associate members. The IPC was established in 1972 under the auspices of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP). The IPC Secretariat is located in Jakarta, Indonesia and is headed by an executive director. Membership to the Community is open to all pepper producing countries, with the unanimous consent of the existing members and by acceding to the agreement of establishment of the Pepper Community.
During the year 2015, Sri Lanka exported around 16,660 Metric tons of Pepper as against 8,031 Mt in 2014, showing a substantial increase of 107%. When compared to the average export of 9,519 Mt during the last ten years, export in 2015 was the highest.
The 45th Annual Session of the International Pepper Community is being held from 30th October to 2nd November 2017 in Kandy, and around 100 representatives from member countries are participating in this event.
A Pepper/Spice Exhibition in conjunction with the 45th Annual Session of the IPC has been organized and the President Sirisena joined in viewing that exhibition. The President also presented certificates and awards to students who won the Island wide competitions. Also, the President presented awards for the Best Pepper Farmer, Best Farmer in preparing a seed bed, Best Exporter as well as for the Best Value–Added Manufacturer.
Minister Daya Gamage,the Chief Minister of the Central Province Sarath Ekanayake, the Chairman of the International Pepper Community Bandula Wickramaarachchi , Executive Director of the International Pepper Community Hoang Thi Lien, Sri Lanka Representative at the IPC Dr. Ashoka Senevirathne and many others participated on this occasion.