Sri Lanka`s private sector which has shown interest in supporting the Government`s effort to develop the Eastern Province has highlighted the need to formulate a master plan to improve infrastructure and human resource in the area.
Several local companies have expressed their keenness to join the government`s effort and they are of the view that there is vast potential to develop the province by investing especially in agriculture-related businesses, a Board of Investment (BOI) official told The Island.
He said representatives of the private sector who met Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama and senior BOI officials on Monday identified several potential agriculture based ventures which could be promoted in the area.
`Palm oil is one such industry with huge potential. The area is suitable for palm oil plantation and the Free Trade Agreement with India will help to promote it as an export industry.
Another area which has been identified by the private sector is the sugar manufacturing industry. There is possibility in expanding sugar cane plantations in the region. Growing maize as an export crop is another potential venture,` the BOI official said.
He said the government has already decided to allocate land for companies to start plantations in the area.
`Ten thousand acres each has already been allocated for two companies to grow maize in the Eastern Province. They are KSP Organisation and Geo Physical Services Ltd. Million Dollar Investment (Pvt) Ltd has been allocated land to grow palm oil,` the official said.
He said in order to expedite development is has been highlighted that there should be a master plan to especially improve human resource in the area.
`A representative from McLarens pointed out that the master plan should include important aspects such as training, micro-finance, sustainable development, organic farming and livestock industry etc. There was also a proposal to launch a programme focusing on family units in the area,` the BOI official said.
He said that the BOI has already formulated a master plan for the development of Trincomalee.
`This master plan includes setting up of port-related services and tourism development zones. It also has an agriculture processing zone which could be a model for a future master plan to develop agriculture in the entire province,` the official said.