27th February 2011, www.sundayobserver.lk, By Shirajiv Sirimane
For the first time in Sri Lanka a plant will be built to process wine. In a bid to usher economic benefits to the North-East this plant will be built in Kilinochchi.
CIC Agribusiness would set up this plant and would also grow grapes on 50 acres.
CEO, National Agriculture development (CIC) Keerthi B. Kotagama told the Sunday Observer that they would invest over Rs. 300 million on this project.
He said that the feasibility studies of this project have now being completed. We are also hoping to have a 200 outgrowers for this venture, he said.
Hybrid grape seeds would be imported from Israel and would be distributed to outgrowers while the machinery would be from Europe.
Sri Lanka imports over 90 percent of its grapes mainly from Australia and India and nearly 99 percent of wines. Today a imported kilogram of grapes is priced around Rs. 1,200 while a bottle of wine is over Rs. 2,000.
He said that when this project is launched they could provide red and white wines and grapes less than 75 percent of the current prices.
He said that wine is also considered a health drink and with the 2.5 million tourists expected to visit the country in the future there would be a good demand for these products.
We also hope to export to the Maldives.
Kotagama said that they would provide grape seeds and the technical know-how to their outgrowers and in turn would buy the grapes at a guaranteed price.
He said that the outgrowers concept would also be introduced to the milk processing unit that would be opened in April in Dambulla. The total investment on this project is Rs. 380 million.
The USAID program will also assist this project by setting up 4,000 outgrowers network. They have invested Rs. 400 million and have provided cattle and the technical know-how.
The 4,000 framers from Trincomale, Ampara and the Batticaloa areas would be incorporated in to four farmers' associations to collect milk more efficiently.
We are expecting 5,000 litres per day from each Association.
He said that they would manufacture fresh milk, Yoghurt, butter and flavoured milk and their target market would be the North East. With the ending of the terrorism we see a demand. We have observed that the residents in the North East are more quality conscious.
They look for high quality and hygienic products and we want to cater to this market, he said.
Related Info :
• USAID Funds Dairy Project in East, Sri Lanka, With Support from Land O’Lakes and CIC Agribusiness