News from Sri Lanka: AGRINFO Webinar Highlights and Insights

On 23 January COLEAD’s AGRINFO programme held an introductory webinar for stakeholders and competent authorities in Sri Lanka. The webinar was organised and hosted by the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB). The event brought together over 90 participants from diverse sectors including tea, coconut, spices, organic production, and packaging.

Keynote Speakers & Insights: Dr Kingsley Bernard, CEO of EDB, extended a warm welcome to all attendees. Morag Webb and Chris Downes of COLEAD demonstrated the EU-funded website and its search functions. They also gave a general overview of the EU Green Deal initiatives and their potential impacts on countries exporting agri-food commodities to the EU.

Impacts of Changing Legislation: policymakers need to be informed about the implications of new legislation on different stakeholders, and AGRINFO plays a key role in facilitating access to clear information to avert trade disruptions. Discussions covered the EU’s process of revising maximum residue limits (MRLs) in response to rising pesticide levels in food products, underscoring the need for non-EU countries to grasp these new regulations and their sector-specific impacts.

Active Participation & Future Collaborations: participants in the webinar represented a wide array of private sector companies, exporters, and agri-food organisations (notably tea, coconut, spices, and organic producers), and also from the packaging sector. Topics such as the EU’s organic regulation, review of packaging rules, and new deforestation regulation were of particular interest. Closing remarks by Mr Janak Badugama (EDB Director – Export Agriculture) underlined the significance of these topics for Sri Lanka’s agri-food export sector and the prospects for future collaborations.

Looking Ahead The success of this webinar has sparked interest from the Sri Lankan Ministry of Plantation and National Organic Control Unit for more events of this nature, benefiting growers and exporters of affected products.

This webinar was organised as part of the AGRINFO programme, implemented by COLEAD and funded by the European Union (EU).