Tuesday, August 23, 2011

CIC invests in Rs 400m vineyard - Gets 500 acres in Northern Province


CIC Agri Businesses will invest Rs 400 million to construct Sri Lanka’s only mass production vineyard. The vineyard will come up in the Northern Province.

The company will obtain a 500 acre land on a long term lease to put up the vineyard and also grow grapes. He said CIC conducted several feasibility studies for this project and they were very positive.

CIC Agri Businesses (Private) Limited Managing Director Keerthi Kotagama said a team from CIC will visit Portugal next week. “We will be visiting a vineyard, a grape plantation an also study the wine industry in Portugal during this tour,” he said.

He said the company is always on the lookout to venture deeper in the agricultural sector and look at unused opportunities.

“With tourism booming we saw an opening for the wine market and decided to invest in it,” he said.

He said they are hoping to invest around Rs 300 million for the vineyard and a further Rs 100 million for the grape plantation. Hybrid grape seeds will be imported from Israel and will be distributed to outgrowers while the machinery will be from Europe.

Sri Lanka imports over 90 percent of its grapes mainly from Australia and India and nearly 99 percent of wines.

Today an imported kilogram of grape is priced around Rs 1,200 while a bottle of wine is over Rs 2,000.

He said when this project is launched they could provide red and white wines and grapes less than 75 percent of the current prices.

They are looking at the supermarket chain to market their products.

CIC currently manages over 10,000 acres of its own farm land, works directly with over 20,000 rural farmers and produces a variety of agriculture and livestock products like seed paddy, rice, fruits, vegetables, eggs, yoghurt and curd.

“The company has been very successful in the outgrower concept where seeds and assistance is provided to farmers to grow fruits and vegetables. “We want to introduce the same concept in the North as well,” Kotagama said.

He said they will initially grow both red and green grapes to manufacture Red white wine for the local market and then look at exports to the Maldives. “We will also look at manufacturing champagne in the future.” shirajiv@yahoo.com
source - www.dailynews.lk

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