Critical analysis of the status of fruit crop industry in Sri Lanka

J.T.K.H. Gamage, C.K. Beneragama, C.L.S.M. Karunarathne, W.M.T.P. Ariyaratne
With a climate and soil conditions proven ideal to the growth of fruits, Sri Lanka has been known to produce a large variety of tropical delicacies in demand worldwide. Agriculture being one of the most popular livelihoods in Sri Lanka, the local market experienced an influx of fresh fruit products during the harvesting seasons. Sri Lanka exports nearly 33,000 metric t of fruits with 90% of the production being exported to the Middle East and the Maldives, earning an income of US$ 35.7 million in the year 2015 while 45,000 metric t of fruits including apples mandarins, oranges and grapes valued US$ 38.8 million were imported in the same year. Since the principle export market has shifted from the European market to the Middle East market although foreign exchange is floating to the country due to increase in quantity supplied, unit value per product is declining with this movement. The positive factor is fruit contribution to the merchandise exports (0.35% in 2016) has been increasing steadily which implies industry is expanding in the country. The country's most popular fresh fruits exports include bananas, melons, mangoes, mangosteen, avocado, sour-sop, pineapple, papaya, lemon, ripe jack, star fruit and rambutan. Postharvest loss is ca. 30-40% due to the lack of proper knowledge on postharvest handling, packaging and right storage methods. Thus, with the introduction of new postharvest handling techniques, cold storage, preservation and packaging methods to farmers, an unprecedented increase in the amount and variety of fruit exports has been recorded during the past decade. The government has initiated the Fruit Village Development Program to strengthen small-scale farmers. Policy level decisions need to be made to penetrate in to European markets where unit prices will be higher and more foreign revenue will arrive to the country. Branding of products will give enormous capacity to become an elegant contributor in the world fruit market.
Gamage, J.T.K.H., Beneragama, C.K., Karunarathne, C.L.S.M. and Ariyaratne, W.M.T.P. (2020). Critical analysis of the status of fruit crop industry in Sri Lanka. Acta Hortic. 1278, 261-267
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2020.1278.37
tropical fruits, foreign exchange, private sector involvement, policy decisions, Middle East market, European market

Acta Horticulturae