Creating a major economic land mark in the Northern Province a crab and prawn processing factory was opened in Kilinochchi and Jaffna last week.
Taprobane Seafoods (TSF) a relatively new company in Sri Lanka invested Rs. 40 million to launch this project which has created over 600 direct and indirect employment opportunities.
Director,TSF Timothy O’Reilly said that this investment would help many people affected by the war to rebuild their lives. “Our aim is also to keep the product in Jaffna and doing value addition thus creating more income for the local community as well,” he said. He said that with the opening of the factory local fisherman could not eliminate the middleman and sell direct to them and obtain the best possible price for their catch.
The opening of this crab processing facility is a significant milestone in the development of the fisheries industry in Kilinochchi. It represents a new business model a partnership between the private sector and primary producers. This partnership has been made possible through the support of the Department of Fisheries, the Department of Cooperative Development, the International Labour Organization, The District Secretary for Kilinochchi and AUSAID.
Director, TSF, Dilan Fernando said that most of the production in both factories would be exported to USA and other countries.
“We are firmly committed to long term investment in Sri Lanka and to support efforts for the sustainable management and the utilization of the fishery resources, so as to create long term jobs, improve livelihoods and at the same time ensure a reasonable return on our investments.”
This building was built to international processing and environmental standards by the Fisherman’s Cooperative with technical and material support from TSF. Through an agreement with the cooperative, TSF’s will operate the plant and ensure that it is run in an efficient and businesslike manner and that it complies with the highest international processing standards. The involvement of the cooperative will ensure that the social and livelihood needs of the community are met.
The new crab processing plant which is owned by Iranaimatha Nagar Fishermen’s Cooperative Union and operated by Taprobane Seafoods Ltd is business model that will create decent jobs and livelihoods, safeguard a valuable resource and maintain the balance between social, environmental and business needs.
The Jaffna factories were opened by ministers Dr Rajitha Senaratne and Douglas Devananda.
Conditions of employment will comply with Sri Lankan labour laws and will be part of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI). The provision of free crèche facilities for staff will facilitate the employment of women many of whom are from female headed households.
The benefits from this processing plant will be felt immediately, as local employment increases and household incomes improve.
In the long term, the sustainability of the crab fishery is critical for the benefit of this valuable resource to be available for future generations to come.