Sri Lanka_ An export-oriented potato chips processing factory has been established for the first time in Sri Lanka, by the Kahattewela Young Farmer’s Company. The factory is situated in the Kahattewela area of Bandarawela, in the Badulla District while the construction of the factory was facilitated by the Ministry of Agriculture’s Small-scale Agribusiness Participation Program (SAPP), bearing a cost of Rs. 20 million and the financial aid granted by the Kahattewela Young Farmers Company.
The Ministry of Agriculture recently announced that the initial production trial of Sri Lanka’s first potato chips processing factory was a success. The production trial was reportedly initiated by the Agriculture Ministry’s Small Scale Agri-business Participation Program (SAPP) and the Janatha Govi Samagama in Bandarawela.
Statistics in 2021 recorded that a total of Rs.21 billion was spent on the importing of potato chips into the island by Sri Lankan food processing companies. With an 11% increase in local demand for Sri Lankan potato chips, and an international demand from countries such as Maldives, Canada, the UK, Luxembourg, and South Korea, a need to institute a method of stabilizing potatoes as a value-added product in the market, was acknowledged and later put into motion under the guidance of the Ministry of Agriculture.
According to data received in 2021, a tonne of potato chips made in Sri Lanka was calculated to be worth US$ 6,321. Currently, the private sector in Sri Lanka is seen exporting potato chips to countries in high demand, and the government of Sri Lanka, through the establishment of the country’s first potato chips factory, has plans to enter the export market with an aim to utilize the international demand for authentic Sri Lankan potato chips as well as provide the local market with home-grown products.
The Kahattewela potato chips processing factory is located in the Uva province of Sri Lanka due to the close proximity to the Welimada, Nuwara Eliya, and Badulla areas that engage in potato cultivation. The factory has a capacity level of processing 1000kg of potato chips in a single day, while steps are underway to procure potatoes from 200 farmers for the manufacturing of chips in this factory, thereby uplifting the local potato farming community.