Regional industrial growth - key to economic prosperity
by Lalin FERNANDOPULLE
In fast tracking economic growth in the country the United Nations
Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) has launched a series of
regional industrial development projects to enhance sustainable
livelihood and boost the local economy.
Bamboo mats in
UNIDO has ventured into the North and the East following the
liberation of these areas that has now paved the way for a host of
opportunities to resuscitate the dormant industries.
National Director, UNIDO, Nawaz Rajabdeen said UNIDO has realised the
potential of the North Eastern regions and is supporting small and
medium scale (SME) sector industries at grassroots level.
Agriculture, fisheries, palmyra and cottage industries that were in
full bloom in the North and the East were ravaged by the three-decade
against terrorism. UNIDO has been supporting industrial development in
these areas since 2007.
Rajabdeen said the organisation has provided assistance to conflict
and tsunami affected people across the country to revive livelihood and
restore normalcy in the area.
"UNIDO identified small units for agro-based industries and provided
post harvest equipment to farmers and SME sector entrepreneurs in
Batticaloa and Trincomalee with Japanese assistance", he said.
The organisation set up its office in Batticaloa and Trincomalee in
2007 and has provided agricultural and industrial machinery to develop
industries in the East.
The mission of UNIDO is to promote industrial development for poverty
reduction, inclusive globalisation and environmental sustainability.
Rajabdeen said the core functions of the organisation is to generate
and disseminate industry related knowledge as a technical cooperation
agency and provide technical support and implement projects.
In recent years UNIDO has assumed an enhanced role in the global
development agenda by focusing attention on poverty reduction, inclusive
globalisation and environmental sustainability.
"Two and four wheel tractors, water pumps, harvestors, agricultural
tools and post harvest technology were provided to entrepreneurs of the
conflict and tsunami hit areas", he said.
Regional industrial development programs are aimed at providing
employment, enhancing productivity and improving the lifestyle of rural
Rajabdeen said a UNIDO team has undertaken a study on industrial
development in Mullaitivu, Mannar, Jaffna, Vavuniya and Kilinochchi
districts to boost development in these areas.
He said the report will be released shortly and UNIDO will support
the potential industries. The government should facilitate in creating a
conducive environment and the private sector should play a lead role in
spearheading regional industrial growth.
UNIDO has launched a four-year program to promote bamboo cultivation
along river beds to develop bamboo based industries such as furnitiue,
handicraft, flooring, roofing and toys.
Rajabdeen said UNIDO has invested US$ 15 million on the project and
added that nurseries will be set up in the regions with the support of
the Ministry of Industries, Agriculture and Environment.
India, China and many developing countries have set up bamboo
processing industries which have helped in the emergence of a number of
private sector manufacturing units that generate employment for the
Sri Lanka has no proper bamboo processing industry. It has a wood
industry which is facing a shortage of feedstock and lacks value
addition.In the backdrop of global urgency for green house gas reduction
there is tremendous need for a viable agro-forestry industrial concept
based on bamboo.
Rajabdeen said moving the industry to processes and engineered bamboo
products will enhance the quality and value of bamboo products in Sri
"The four-year project to develop a vibrant bamboo based industry in
the country will help generate employment, income to rural households
and revenue for the local economy", he said.
The target of the project is to develop 10,000 hectares of new bamboo
plantations in a specific region that will serve as an industry cluster.
The plantations will be strictly on degraded land.
To ensure the availability of quality planting material, tissue
reproduction will be promoted through a centre of excellence laboratory
that will be set up in the country.
Developing a bamboo industry in Sri Lanka needs technology transfer
for key steps in the processing chain which includes buying of
equipment, capacity building, maintaining equipment and development for
local service providers.
Rajabdeen said UNIDO has provided hydro and dendro power to promote
and develop power driven cottage industries and help low income
households in Meemure.
UNIDO commenced operations in Sri Lanka in 1999 and today the
organisation is recognised globally as a provider of key services in
reducing poverty through productive activities, integration of
developing countries in global trade through trade capacity building,
fostering environmental sustainability and improving access to energy.