Showcasing Sri Lanka fish , Ceylon Tea and tourism in the Russian market

article_imageEmbassy of Sri Lanka in the Russian Federation organized three major events during the period ofSeptember 14 – 18 2015. Russia, one of the largest markets in the world has now become an important destination for Sri Lankan exports, especially due to current ban imposed by the European Union on the Russian Federation for agricultural products including fish, milk products and meat products.

It is also vital to note that the current ban on the Sri Lankan fish exports to the European Union too has become a factor for the Sri Lanka fish industry to divert its current exports to the Russian Federation to compensate the loss that the fish exporters are facing due to the closure of the EU market for their products. Having identified the current market potentials and economic background of the Russian Federation and the CIS countries Sri Lanka embassy initiated its first step in cultivating Sri Lanka’s potentials by exhibiting the impending exports in the Russian exhibitions and forums. Under the guidance of newly appointed Ambassador Dr. Saman Weerasinghe the embassy of Sri Lanka in Moscow organized three major state sector participations at two important exhibitions during the period of September.

The events were namely, the exhibition “World Food 2015” where the international food manufacturers and companies showcasing their products in the Russian federation and “Leisure 2015”, where national tourism agencies, airlines, international tour operators and tour agents showcasing their tourism, hotelier services to the Russian and international clienteles. These events were participated by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau and Sri Lanka Tea Board annually.

The significance of the exhibition “World Food”in 2015, was, as it was the first time in the history that Sri Lanka participation with a larger number of exporters in food sector other than tea in one trade show. The total number of companies participated was 18 and this included 5 major fish manufacturing companies and 6 other food product companies. The number of tea companies was 5. The national agency that coordinates the event in Sri Lanka was the Department of Commerce of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and the Export Development Board.

Majority of the participation on other product sectors was represented by fish industry. Upon the registering of 19 major Sri Lankan fish exporters in the federal service of veterinary and phytosanitorysurveillance, in November 2014 enabling Sri Lankan companies to export into the Russian federation, the fish exporters showed enthusiasm in participating at the event as it was very timely to explore this massive Russian market .

The fish manufacturers participated in the event were Global Sea Foods, Lihini Sea Food, Jay Sea Fish processing, Tropic Frozen and Tess Agro. Roshan Fernando, the president of sea food association also had represented the industry by exhibiting fish products at the event.

Other than fish, the Sri Lankan market leaders such as Munchee, CBL Natural products,Link Natural, Ruhunu Foods, Lucky Lanka Milk Products and Hero Nature products too took part in this important event.

Though the market for Ceylon Tea is not very favorable during the current retro, still the name Ceylon Tea maintains its flagship in the Russian market. However an emergence of a segment for low end product is visible at the moment in the Russian market. The Russian Federation was the Sri Lanka’s number one market for tea for several decades and continuing the position with its new marketing efforts. The annual participation the Sri Lanka Tea Board continues this year with 4 major tea exporters under Sri Lanka Tea Board Pavilion. Other than these Tea Board participation there were 5 other individual companies participating in the event. The participation of the tea sector was organized by the tea section of the embassy of Sri Lanka. Premium Lanka, Unitrade, Sunshine Tea, Ceylon Tenny tea participated under the Sri Lanka Tea Board pavilion while Stassen exports, imperial teas, Dasatha Import and Exports participated on their own .

The other major event Sri Lanka participated in was the Leisure; Travel and Tourism Fair in Moscow. There 13 companies participated in the event namely; Aitken Spence Travels, Concord Exotic Voyages , Taj Hotels, Jetwing Travels, Cinnamon Hotels Management, Intravels Holidays, Delux Holidays, Delux Vacation, Green Holiday Center, Tangarine Tours, Super Corals Hikkaduwa, Ceylon Roots , and Serendib leisure.This is also an annual event that Sri Lanka participates regularly for improving and maintaining the client base.

Having identified the importance of the fish exports to Russia, embassy of Sri Lanka organized a sea food cooking demonstration and tasting session at the embassy. The event was conducted by La Maree , a well-known premium Russian sea food restaurant chain and the event was participated by 45 leading fish importers of the Russian Federation. Sri Lankan exporting companies were introduced to the invited more than 40 sea food importers, restaurant chain owners while Sri Lankan exporters were given an opportunity to present their company and products for tasting and display. The product display and the tasting session was a great informative exercise for the importers to get the first hand experience on the products companies and quality. Much important sea food buyers such as Fess Impex, ITOCHU corporation, Le Pathazhe, Art Logistic Trading, Alligator, Gless, and Metro Cash and Carry were among the participants

The event was a success and the Sri Lankan exporters stated that they were highly satisfied with the contacts that they built up during the trade show and the sea food demonstration and expected this to be the turning point in Sri Lanka’s fish exports to the Russian market.

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