Dutch Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Tanja Gonggrijp said that following a visit by Sri Lankan horticulturalists there were plans to create more formal linkages between the two nations.
Gonggrrijp was the guest speaker following the 38th Annual General Meeting of the Lanka Fruit and Vegetable Producers, Processors, and Exporters Association under the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.
She said, The Netherlands has been involved in several projects in the horticultural sector in Sri Lanka. As we speak a delegation of Sri Lankan horticultural businesses and representatives of the agricultural sector modernization project from the Ministry of Primary Industries is in the Netherlands for training.
We hope this will strengthen the connections. We hope to build on this for the creation of Dutch partners for Horticulture.
We want to create this group of Dutch companies that are willing to make commitments for involvement in the Sri Lankan horticulture sector. We hope to create long term business connections.
She said, The history of trade between our nations; this export and import of different varieties of crops which our countries have left marks on our shared experiences.
Even our languages have been influenced by this. Look at our similar words for Pineapple; annasi and ananas. This precludes to a long history of fruit and vegetable exchange between the The Netherlands and Sri Lanka.
She added Trade has not stopped between our nations. The raw vegetable and fruit export from Sri Lanka to the Netherlands has a value of about US$ 7 million. This is mostly tropical fruit. The trade from the Netherlands to Sri Lanka is small at US$ 2 million. This is mostly aardappelen (potatoes).
She said Both Sri Lanka and the Netherlands are prominent in agriculture. The Netherlands is the second-largest agricultural exporter in the world. Sri Lanka is a country with a quarter of the working population is in agriculture.
She called on society to reduce the harms of pesticides. She said Countries in the EU have extremely high standards of food safety. They put limitations on what can be imported. Reducing pesticide is not only important for Sri Lankan consumers but also Sri Lankan businesses.
She called on for an increase in analog forestry. On initiatives in Holland she said We are working on the concept of food forests.