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Sunday, 3 February 2013





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Rs. 300 m invested in Raigam rice noodles facility

The Kingdom of Raigam will complete the construction of its Rs. 1 b saltern in Kuchaveli next year, Raigam Group Chairman Dr. Ravi Liyanage said at the launch of its rice noodles Devani Batha on Wednesday. He said that around 60 percent of the work on the project has been completed and added that the saltern will be commissioned as scheduled in 2014.

Dr Ravi Liyanage

Work on the 1,800-acre saltern in the East commenced in 2011 to provide jobs to over 1,500 people in the area. “Constructing a saltern is a cumbersome process. The inclement weather during the past two months hindered work on the project,” Dr. Liyanage said.

Sri Lanka yet imports a substantial quantity of salt a year draining out foreign exchange from the country. Raigam re-awakened the salt industry in Sri Lanka by setting up salterns in Hambantota and Puttalam which helped reduce the import of salt to around 7,000 mt in 2011.

The country's annual requirement of salt is around 50,000 mt.

“We are confident that Sri Lanka will be able to export salt in the near future,” Dr. Liyanage said.

Raigam launched the manufacture of rice noodles at its plant in Homagama with an investment of Rs. 300 m to change the consumption pattern in Sri Lanka. The state-of-the-art factory has a capacity to manufacture 5,000 mt of noodles a year and double the capacity next year.

Devani Batha was introduced to the market in three flavours white, rose and red kekulu flour. Sri Lanka's current rice production is about 4.8 million mt a year and the industry sustains around 880,000 farmer families.

Dr. Liyanage said that by consuming rice-based products the country could save a staggering amount of foreign exchange on import of wheat flour each year. By consuming rice-flour noodles instead of wheat-flour noodles the country could save around Rs. 925 million a year on import of wheat flour.

“Sri Lanka takes pride in being self-sufficient in rice but the irony is that it still imports a large quantity of wheat flour spending a colossal sum each year. Promoting the consumption of rice and rice-based products should take place at grass-roots level,” Dr. Liyanage said.

Sri Lanka spend around 20 percent of its foreign exchange on import of food. Milk powder, sugar, canned fish and dry fish is yet imported in large quantities.



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