Sept 13, Colombo: As there are orders from many countries for Sri Lanka’s ‘Ambul’ (sour) bananas, the Ministry of Agriculture has decided to set up the third Ambul banana export processing factory in Murawasihena area of Hambantota at a cost of 65 million rupees.
Arrangements have been made to start the third Ambul banana export processing zone in 800 acres of land covering Embilipitiya, Hambantota and Sevanagala areas.
The first Ambul banana export processing zone and processing center have been established in Rajanganaya. In addition, a second Ambul banana export processing zone has been established in Jaffna.
The Agriculture Sector Modernization Project (ASMP) of the Ministry of Agriculture has taken measures to expand Ambul banana cultivation in 800 acres in Rajanganaya and 400 acres in Jaffna.
Arrangements have been made to start the third sour banana export processing zone in 800 acres of land covering Embilipitiya, Hambantota and Sevanagala areas.
A discussion regarding the third Ambul banana export processing zone chaired by the Minister of Agriculture Mahinda Amaraweera, was held Tuesday (12) at the Ministry of Agriculture.
Secretary of the Ministry Gunadasa Samarasinghe, Director of the Agriculture Sector Modernization Project Dr. Rohan Perera, the Secretary of the Southern Province Ministry of Agriculture and a group of officials from the Ministry of Agriculture participated in the discussion.
The National Institute of Post-Harvest Management (NIPHM) of the Ministry of Agriculture is providing the necessary funding of 65 million rupees for the construction of this Ambul Banana Export Processing Centre using a warehouse belonging to the Paddy Marketing Board.
All the machines and equipment required for this processing center are to be purchased from a company that would manufacture them locally.
The Minister said at present, a businessman in Dubai has come forward to export pumpkin, cassava and some other vegetables in addition to Ambul bananas and orders for vegetables and fruits from many countries have been received.
Therefore, the Minister of Agriculture instructed the officials to complete the construction work of Muravasihena Ambul Banana Export Processing Center by December.
For the third Ambul banana export processing zone, 800 farmers will be selected and they will be given instructions on the high density cultivation method for banana cultivation, technology and technical equipment, and business opportunities to buy the harvest of the plantation, all under the guidance of the Agriculture Sector Modernization Project.
Expressing his views Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said to make farming profitable in the country, farmers must be motivated to grow agricultural products that are in demand. The agricultural sector should take steps for that.
“Most of the farmers are resorting to easy crops, so they do not get proper harvest and income. Also, there is no high demand in the market for their harvest. That is why farming is always a loss. But we can grow many things that the world demands in our own country. Ambul bananas were not in high demand before. But now many countries are asking us for Ambul bananas. But we can export only if we cultivate according to international standards. The complete state-of-the-art technology required for that is provided by the Agriculture Sector Modernization Project.”
The minister also said that every Saturday Sri Lanka sends one container of Ambul bananas to the Dubai market.