Speaking at the launch, Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen said that the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), a core sector of Sri Lankan economy creating more than 50 percent of its employment, have their biggest presence in 'food processing' sub-sector and Sri Lanka is considering linking its considerable SME base to global markets through the highly active industry sub-sector.
"There is a great number of micro and SME enterprises active in this industry. In fact we believe that more than 40 percent of our SMEs are in the food processing sector" Minister Bathiudeen said, addressing the event in Colombo.
Minister Bathiudeen was joined by visiting industry representatives from India and China as well as President of Sri Lanka Food Processors Association Maliek De Alwis and its Secretary Thusith Wijesinghe.
Awards were handed over to Winners of the Pro Food / Pro Pack and Agbiz Exhibition 2017.
Launched by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce in 2001, the exhibition has become one of the largest food, beverages, packaging and agri-business events in South Asia.
"This expo series is only one of the initiatives by my Ministry to help the processed food and packaging sector. Since the launch of this series in 2001 there has been much progress in the processed food sector by way of improvements in technology, packaging, product development, and marketing," he minister said.
Organized by the Sri Lanka Food Processors Association and the Lanka Exhibition and Conference Services (LECS), the exhibition will feature over 350 stalls and over 30,000 visitors are expected to attend the event.
Featuring all facets of the agriculture, food & beverages industry, this year’s expo has two separate pavilions from the largest global players in the industry - India and China. A special pavilion will also be provided to university students to showcase their innovative products.
During the event, the Institute of Science and Technology will present its annual research paper and several other institutes will conduct training programs for interested parties.