Target Agriculture to boost exports to Europe

Target Agriculture, a pioneer in organic farming across South and Southeast Asia plans to expand its operations in Sri Lanka through value addition and identifying products for the European market.

The company is working on new projects for processing, adding value to Sri Lankan agricultural products and identifying new products that would suit the growing European market for organic products said Target Agriculture Founder and Chairman Dr. Thomas Gerbracht who put Sri Lanka on the world map for organic fruit processing and exports with his pioneering venture that was set up in 1994 said his aim is to make Sri Lanka a leading exporter of organic agri-products in the world.

Dr. Gerbracht, a German national, embarked on organic farming having chosen to settle in Sri Lanka following a visit in the 1990s. His aim was to establish Sri Lanka on the map as a trusted destination to source organic fruits and spices for processing and exports. “Our immediate plan is to expand and make Sri Lankan products even better and to increase the volume of exports,” Dr. Gerbracht said, adding that the company is well aware of the fact that exports are essential to bring foreign in the much needed foreign exchange to Sri Lanka.

Besides organic farming Target Agriculture has been keen on ‘Fair Trading’ and the company has projects with Fair Trade certified farmer Cooperatives to support rural farmer communities. Over Rs. 30 million Fair Trade premium funds accumulated in GKGS implies the strong support given by Target Agriculture as the main buyer which helped rural farmer communities such as, Karambe, Monaragala and Gampaha in its past.

FT premium funds have been used in different projects such as, IT centres, Pre schools and various educational farmer development programs Sri Lanka has many companies that do organic agricultural exports and I believe that Sri Lanka has a good name in Europe for its organic products, Dr. Gerbracht said. “When I went to Germany on a visit in the 1990s I saw Sri Lankan products in the supermarkets which made me proud,” he said, adding that the organic market has been growing since that time and most of the Asian countries are in the business.

As a pioneer in this movement, I also had to realise the growth potential and the diversity of organic products, so I had to expand our business to Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia to be able to get more varieties of organic products, which are not available in Sri Lanka, Dr. Gerbracht said.He said when he exported organic coconut oil or organic dried jackfruit to Europe 25 years ago no one took interest in them.

However, the situation has changed and I learned that every product needs the right time to be launched in a market. “So we try as much as possible to be innovative and test new products, which are known in Asia, but not in Europe.” With over 25 years of experience and industry expertise in sourcing certified, organic and fair-trade products, Target Agriculture holds an extensive product portfolio which includes high quality fruit-based products, coconut-based products and spices from Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia.

Over the years, Target Agriculture achieved recognition across Europe and USA and established itself as a pioneer in the sourcing and supply of high quality, certified, organic, fair-trade foods.

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