Feb 17, Colombo: Sri Lanka's first Multi-purpose Gamma Irradiation Facility (MGIF) was declared open at Biyagama Investment Zone today with the participation of the Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa as the chief guest.
The Atomic Energy Authority-run facility adjoining the Free Trade Zone in Biyagama will provide facilities to sterilize medical equipment and medicine, plant quarantine services and to conduct experiments.
Agriculture and medical equipment manufacturers, rubber gloves manufactures, exporters, patients and the general public will benefit from this facility completed at a total cost of Rs.760 million.
The applications of MGIF include radiation sterilization of medical products, food irradiation, polymer modification (Hydro-gel films for wound dressing) and radiation vulcanization of Natural Rubber Latex (RVNRL).
The Atomic Energy Authority provided the technical assistance under the Technical Cooperation programme of the International Atomic Energy Agency to set up the facility.
Speaking at the occasion, the Technology, Research and Atomic Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said measures will be taken within the next three years to elevate Sri Lanka through a process of ultra-technological advancements.
The government-owned facility will now help to enhance the export sector through the enrichment of quality of products and pave the way to expand opportunities in the foreign market, the Minister said, adding that small and medium scale businessmen will gain the opportunity to commence industries that requires to use gamma irradiation technology.
Earlier due to lack of irradiation facilities, local products go into the European market as unfinished products and were sold at low prices or exported to Malaysia and Singapore for value addition and re-export which is costly.
The ultimate goal is to turn the country into an international food center, Ranawaka said and the that MGIF could be used directly for the advancement of many sectors including medicine and agriculture.