Final validation workshop on new marketing options and guidelines for agro biodiversity and food with high nutritional value identified and developed

Final validation workshop on new marketing options and guidelines for agro biodiversity and food with high nutritional value identified and developed was held on 08th August 2018. The workshop was held from 9.00 a.m to 12.00 p.m at the National Agriculture Information and Communication Center, Gannoruwa with the participation of 35 expert stakeholders from both government and private sector.

Experts were present representing Institutes of Department of Agriculture including Extension and training centre, GAP Certification division of the Seed Certification Service, Food Research Unit and National Agriculture Information and Communication Center. Officers from Provincial Department of Agriculture representing project pilot sites Udakumbura, Gampola Giribawa and Niunhella were also present.

Experts from National Food promotion board (NFPB) and Hadabima authority of Sri Lanka representing semi government organizations where Community Development Center (CDC), Aranayake and John Keells holdings representing private sector were also present.
Key group of experts who performed the study from Agribusiness Center, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya and BFN project management unit co organized the workshop.

Main aim of the workshop was to discuss the outcomes of the marketing consultancy on agro biodiversity products identified through BFN project.

Welcome presentation was done by Dr.W.L.G.Samarasinghe, National project Coordinator of the BFN project. Initial presentation was done by Proj Gunarathne giving insight to the marketing study on existing agro biodiversity food items their current status with regard to existing marketing systems and possible improvements that can be done as marketing guidelines for both demand and supply sides. Importance of diversifying and value addition to biodiversity food items and following research and development in targeting supermarket chain and major other outlets existing as NFPB and CDC were also discussed.
Prof Madhujith explained the guidelines for improved use, processing, safety and quality control and promotion of raw materials arising from biodiversity crops. The presentation gave technical information to food manufacturers on how value addition can be done for agro biodiversity food items while maintaining their unique attributes and quality with consideration to nutrition.

Prof Weligamage explained an economic analysis performed on agro biodiversity products taking finger millet as an example. Presentation included many facts regarding the economical benefit of these products with a considerable demand compared to other products in marketing value chain.

Final presentation was done by Dr.Hemachandra explaining project findings through the study including value chain upgrading, premium pricing for agro biodiversity products, importance of PGS certification system and also
defining guidelines and tools for mainstreaming biodiversity products. All these facts were identified as key steps in promoting sustainable value chain for agro biodiversity products in existing markets of Sri Lanka.

A final discussion was also held gathering different opinions on short comes as well as benefits and new knowledge arose from the study. Both government and private sector experts actively participated with the discussion on how these two sectors can be linked to build up a strong sustainable value chain for promoting agro biodiversity products for improved nutrition and well being.

The inputs gathered at the workshop will be utilized by Agribusiness center to formulate a marketing brief and also to promote biodiversity products through markets identified from the study.