Sri Lanka’s leading food and organic product exporters urged the nation’s premier product testing laboratories to enhance their levels of efficiency and effectiveness to enable them to provide a superior service to their overseas customers. These sentiments were aired at a meeting organized by the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) on 30th August, 2022, to provide a platform for the exporters and product testing laboratories in the island to share their requirements and capacities with each other.
During the meetings of EDB Advisory Committees on Spices & Concentrates, and Ayurveda & Herbal Products and Cosmetics, a request was made to have a meeting between product testing laboratories and exporters to identify the product testing facilities available at different institutions to obtain the required test reports as well as certifications locally to comply with the regulations of importing countries and thereby, minimize the substantial foreign exchange spent annually on test reports from labs located in foreign countries.
The representatives from participant firms at the event – Industrial Technology Institute (ITI), Sri Lanka Standards Institute, Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Board, National Cinnamon Training and Research Centre, SGS Lanka (Pvt) Ltd, Bureau Veritas,– made comprehensive presentations to brief the exporters about the testing facilities available in their institutes. Meanwhile, GALAB Laboratories – Germany, joined the event via Zoom and made a presentation about their services and facilities. The officials of Control Union, a global network of inspection operations and dedicated laboratories, and the Sri Lanka Accreditation Board (SLAB), the National Accreditation Authority of Sri Lanka, also took part in the interaction and shared their thoughts and observations with the participants.
Expressing his views, Chairman of EDB Advisory Committee on Spices & Concentrates – Nanda Kohona, pointed out that exporters face undue delays when receiving reports from local labs and as samples have to be sent to labs overseas, a considerable amount of foreign exchange flows out of the country – in the range of US$ 10 to 15 million – every year.
Joining the discussion, Chairman – Bio Foods, Dr. Sarath Ranaweera remarked that it is necessary to improve credibility and recognition of local laboratories among overseas buyers.
Testing laboratories agreed to share updated testing and certifications with exporters while pledging to minimize potential delays as much as possible. The EDB intends to take initiatives to further improve the linkage between exporters and laboratories to align them with export requirements.
Senior officials of the EDB, Chairman Suresh D de Mel, Director General - Malani Baddegamage, and Janak Badugama – Director – Export Agriculture Division and other officials graced the occasion.