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* Sri Lanka to promote Kithul palm production
Sun, Mar 23, 2014, 12:08 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 23, Colombo: In a move to promote the Kithul industry in the country, Sri Lanka has declared the first week of April as the "Kithul Products Promotion Week".

During this week several programmers to promote and strengthen Kithul industry will be implemented under the direct supervision of the Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprises Development Douglas Devananda.

Under the Kithul Week programme, the annual Kithulata Varuna Exhibition and Trade Fair will be held from 4th to 6th April at the Sudarshi Sinhala Cultural Centre in Colombo opposite BMICH. The exhibition and trade fair is expected to help New Year shoppers to purchase their Kithul product requirements in the purest form.

The Secretary to the Ministry of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprises Development V. Sivagnanasothy has said that under the Mahinda Chintana Future Vision goals several concessions have been granted to the Kithul Industry by the government.

According to the official, exports of Kithul products have steadily increased and the US, UK and Japan are the main importers of Kithul products from Sri Lanka due to its hygienic and medicinal values.

Sri Lanka's Kithul treacle and jaggery exports earnings in 2011 amounted to Rs. 26 Million and this has increased to Rs. 58 million in 2012 and to Rs. 68 million in 2013, the official said.

The government has identified Kithul industry as a main rural economic development strategy for the livelihood development, self-employment, income generation and poverty reduction in the rural areas and it has facilitated the flow of foreign exchange directly to the villages.

The Secretary said that there are 3 million Kithul trees in 18 districts and there are around 600,000 matured trees of which about 120,000 trees are currently being tapped. He said that there are 35,000 tappers in the country who earn Rs. 10 to 15,000 a month by tapping a single tree.

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