Boosting Exports Through Supply Chain Development
Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) have been promoting products and services, whilst supporting entrepreneurs to build their supply chain through knowledge sharing, technology adaptation, minimizing policy barriers, machinery upgradation, etc & the efforts taken will result in the increase of export in the coming years. EDB has taken a lead role in the National Export Strategy (NES) and is currently supporting the priority sectors along with the mature export sectors. Numerous activities have commenced to develop and boost the export supply chain.
IT Initiative with a budgetary allocation of Rs. 300.0 Mn supports the development of the Sri Lankan ICT/BPM sector and assists companies to groom themselves to the next level, create awareness of Sri Lanka ICT/BPM niches and capabilities globally and generate the highly skilled workforce to cater to the growing demand. This will contribute to achieve the target of US$ 5 bn. exports of the sector by 2022. The Sectoral Expert together with EDB is implementing the Champion Builder, Digital and Non Digital Branding sub initiatives of the Budget proposal. The “Champion Builder Initiative” is a matching grant which assists ICT/BPM companies. Digital Branding Initiative is the digital marketing campaign to promote the Sri Lanka ICT/BPM brand (IOI – Island of Ingenuity) to strengthen the country positioning in target markets to make Sri Lanka a sourcing destination of knowledge services. Whilst the Non-Digital Branding Initiative consists of three sub activities of Outward Missions & Roadshows, Inward Missions and Country Positioning Report.
Boat Building is a leading industry and an emerging export sector, which has been identified as a focused sector in the NES, 2018-2020. There is an emergent interest in Sri Lanka for boating activities which will create additional domestic market opportunities for the industry. Considering the high marine diversity, the country has a massive potential for marine tourism. To attract more foreign yachts to the Sri Lankan waters by ensuring a transparent business environment and to stimulate more yachts, more charter operations, yacht tourism with yacht based spending, development of a Regulatory Framework was initiated by the EDB under the guidance of the Ministry of Development Strategies & International Trade and in collaboration with the Ministry of Ports & Shipping, Merchant Shipping Secretariat and other Government and private sector institutions covering the entire value chain (excluding fishing boats) of the industry.
The Boat building industry promises high revenue through exports however currently it lacks infrastructure facilities for manufacturing (especially vessels over 20M), berthing (anchorages/marinas), launching and testing (slipways/launching pads) and dock facilities for repairing purposes. Hence EDB and the Boat Building Technology Improvement Institute (BTI) have identified Koggala and Weligama in the south coast as feasible areas for building necessary infrastructure to facilitate existing companies in the industry and the feasibility study is underway to construct a breakwater in Kapparathota (Weligama) to facilitate the boat builders for berthing, launching and testing.
Rubber is one of the mature sectors and it requires trained skilled employees with experience on modern machinery and equipment, mature processing technology and high level of product development to be in par with the global market trends. In facilitating this aspect, two technical training programmes for 25 representatives of rubber products manufacturing companies were organized in Tun Abdul Razake Research Centre (TARRC) in UK and Academy of Hevea Malaysia (AHM) of Malaysian Rubber Board in 2017 and 2018 providing the required new engineering technologies of the sector.
Gem & Jewellery sector is another prominent sector in the export basket. In order to enhance and upgrade design and manufacturing capabilities of the SME entrepreneurs, to upgrade and introduce new techniques / technology and to enhance the awareness on latest marketing strategies used internationally EDB launched a number of integrated Design / Product and Market Development programmes for the sector. Three (03) workshops were conducted during the Design Development Phase and two (02) workshops were conducted during the Product Development (Manufacturing Techniques/Packaging & Display) Phase covering the areas of metal crafting and enamelling at a fully-fledged jewellery workshop. In addition, a workshop on branding and packaging was also held in order to adapt new and creative packaging and provided with knowhow to create own brand, various packaging techniques etc. The Market Development Phase will be continued for 3 years and at the initial stage the selected participants were given the opportunity to display their newly created jewellery collection at the EDB Pavilion at FACETS International Gem & Jewellery Show 2019.
Moreover, EDB and the Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery Association (SLGJA) in collaboration with Academy of Design (AOD) launched a One Year Diploma Programme in Jewellery Designing to strengthen the jewellery designer pool by attracting young and talented designers towards the industry. Five (5) students were selected to obtain fully fledged design qualification to cater to the niche export market needs
Another initiative was the jewellery design development programmes with the objectives of upgrading the capacities and skills of the local craftsmen who are capable of producing designs for high end jewellery. In year 2018, EDB in collaboration with NGJA and the industry organized an Advanced Jewellery Design Development Programme with the assistance of the Sri Lanka Embassy in Thailand for 10 local designers at the Thailand Gem & Jewellery Institute Thailand, in order to upgrade their designing capabilities and skills.
EDB in collaboration with M/s Modainpelle Academy in Milan organised a product development programme for the footwear sector with a seminar on fashion designing and trends forecast, individual consultation on the samples developed by the companies on the suitability of the products for the EU market in terms of colour, material, design, shapes etc. in order to obtain knowledge on new developments, materials, components, chemicals, tools and fashion trends for the year 2019 & 2020.
The EDB in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Sri Lanka Embassy in Manila, Philippines organized a trade promotion programme from 16th to 22nd October 2019 which consisted of a Training/ Exposure visit/ B2B meetings and product display at Manila FAME 2019 exhibition for a group of 10 export potential SME manufacturers selected under 2000 New Exporters Development Programme of EDB engaged in the Giftware & Lifestyle Sector.
The National Organic Control Unit (NOCU) was established by an Extraordinary Gazette Notification under the EDB to streamline the Organic Agriculture related activities in Sri Lanka such as cultivation, processing, manufacturing, sales, exports and imports. The unit has carried out many programmes such as Awareness sessions organic stakeholders in the country about National Organic Control Unit & its role to promote credible organic agriculture value chain in Sri Lanka in Kandy, Kilinochchi, Matara, Mulathiuv & Colombo. An awareness seminar on Chinese Organic Certification Procedure was conducted in collaboration with ECOCERT India & China. Registration of organic stakeholders has been initiated by the National Organic Control Unit. Initiatives have been taken to create a research platform related to Sri Lankan organic agriculture, prepare national data base and revive national organic regulation revised based on the comments made by IFOAM and NOCU Advisory Committee members.
EDB in collaboration with the INFOFISH Malaysia and the Department of Fisheries in Thailand organized a technical exposure programme for ornamental fish breeders/exporters from 15-18 October 2019. The main purpose of this programme was to obtain exposure on new technological developments already practiced by Thailand farmers. Exporters were able to enhance knowledge on new packing technologies, breeding methods, feeding techniques, maintaining bio security in the farms, farm management, and new water purification systems.
The EDB has identified the need to expand the technical capabilities of the Mushroom Development & Training Centre (MDTC) to deliver its services to the mushroom growers in the country to expand their product assortment by introducing new mushroom varieties and high yielding spawns for further development of the industry. EDB with the support of the Sri Lanka High Commission in New Delhi organized a Technical Training Programme at National Horticulture Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF) in New Delhi, India for 04 Sri Lankan participants. MDTC instructors have commenced producing the spawns of milky mushroom which is a new variety for Sri Lanka and the production is being commercialized.
Keeping in line with the Government's Economic Vision EDB launched a National Program to develop 2000 new entrepreneurs to become exporters in 2017-2020 by promoting and attracting regional-based entrepreneurs to penetrate the export market contributing to the US$ 28 billion national export target in 2022. The first programme was successfully held in Jaffna in March 2017 followed by programmes in Kandy, Matara, Kurunegala, Kegalle, Anuradhapura, and Vauniya & Ratnapura. Up-to date, 75 Business Plans have been developed under integrated product and market development programme. Further, 44 capacity development, 14 product development and 29 market development programmes were completed and 50 women entrepreneurs were trained & assisted to prepare their business development plans in a structured manner. Under this programme, 60 direct exporters & 75 indirect exporters have been developed. This has opened up avenues to the rural SMEs in becoming exporters.
EDB’s One Village One Product Programme, enables farmer/ producer clusters to develop the export supply base of the country. During the period 2015 – 2019, 72 clusters have been formed for pepper, ginger, vanilla, life style etc. There are 3995 beneficiaries under this programme covering an area of 3755.5 acres across the country. Up-to date, 1886.1 metric tons of produce has been supplied to exporters linked through these clusters. Around 68,000 pieces of handicrafts were supplied to exporters along with other agricultural products mentioned above amounting to a total of Rs. 1272.4 Mn.
Genuine sustainable supply chain development is critical to achieve competitive advantage in any country’s economy. The overall impact of the work is such that the government and operators will benefit as they can use the identified influencing factors to develop strategies and policies to make more profits and tangible benefits in the sector. Hence the commitment and dedication of the EDB has become the driving force of the exporters to reach their goals by serving the country to achieve an exponential growth in exports to have a better economy in the future.