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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2904

Young Shafraz convinced the local fishermen with his sincerity to help them

By SHM

A meeting was held to address the allegations raised by the local fishermen on the exporters that they are not paid the right price for their fish since recently, pointing at some companies who are operating large vessels on foreign joint venture which is 100% in accordance with EU guidelines. They wanted all these licenses to be revoked as they falsely believe that this is the cause that the price of fish is falling time to time.

Fact of the situation is that lately there has been lots of Tuna being exported from many new sources apart from Sri Lanka, like Middle East, Africa, Seychelles other than the Sri Lanka. Prior to this Sri Lanka and Maldives used to hold the main market in the EU since the very inception.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had to listen to both sides of the story to find a solution to protect the industry as well as the plight of the fishermen which was real concern.

When young Shafraz Moulana’s turn came to express his points he made use of the opportunity to make some input from his side. He pointed out by saying, ‘Sir my company Northwest Fishery is 100% procuring fish only from the local fishermen through our intermediary suppliers for over 15 years and we have never had any need to look for other sources. Out of 12 months, we hardly see a situation where there is enough supplies from the local boats that the prices are in line with EU market but still we have managed to keep buying from them at any market price to meet our orders. Last year there was the biggest crisis we have ever faced in the history of our company where the price shot up to Rs:2,700 a kilo of Tuna just from the boats but still we have not backed off or given up but paid the prices the fishermen demanded and kept our orders going that cost us many millions of rupees of losses.’

Shafraz Moulana further said that the price controlling is never in the hands of the exporters but always based on supply against demand and our product needs to be placed best at quality and price to be customers' first choice.

Lately our competitors have started to land very good quality Tuna in freshness making use of the time when Sri Lanka had to go through an 18 month disastrous ban in the EU.

This was the key reason that Sri Lanka lost the bigger portion of its market share as price being the main factor that we are always less competitive against Maldives and other new origins. I said the government should look into providing all facilities, subsidies for the fishermen to bring down the fishing costs and land in exportable quality which at present 50% being unfit due to poor quality. handling etc.

He also pointed out that the government should intervene to make improvements on the fishing to increase catch and to preserve the quality of every single fish till it reaches the processor/exporter to stay as high quality A grade for which there is a market demand and it can always pay a premium price and we will never let down our fishermen. He said the fishermen are the first ring at the top of the nchain on whose survival the entire exporters are depending on so we have no reason to do injustice to our fishermen which is in turn going to make us lose our bread and butter for the rest of the life.

Fishermen were so pleased with the points Shafraz Moulana made and they said, indeed we agree with him 100% sir, what he stressed are just the facts and he has always looked after the local fishermen and we
have only praises to Northwest.

As usual the President was giving a close hearing to gather facts as much as he could talk to every single official, exporter and the fisherman were seated to close upon 3 hours. President is well known to make genuine effort to resolve issues. After the meeting the president showed his keenness to find out who this young Shafraz Moulana is and to his surprise he was told that he is late Governor Alavi Moulana’s grandson!

Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Douglas Devananda, State Ministers Sanath Nishantha, Kanchana Wijesekara, Secretary to the President Dr. P. B. Jayasundara, Secretary to the Treasury and the Ministry of Finance S. R. Attygalle, Secretary to the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resource R. M. I. Ratnayake and several other officials were present at the discussion.

- Asian Tribune -

President Gotabaya with fishermen, exporters and officials
diconary view
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