The SME and micro sectors have clearly proven their critical role in not only sustaining the domestic FMCG supplies, but even saving households from shortages –and hunger itself during the lockdown in Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka’s Confederation of Micro, Small and Medium Industries (COSMI) founder President Nawaz Rajabdeen said.

He hailed the achievements of SME and micro sellers and delivery rider services during lockdowns as a clear proof of sector’s untapped potential as the last mile link in FMCG supply chains. “We saw their capacity for Just In Time (JIT) delivery of essential items and groceries. With remarkable speed they largely saved people from shortages and hunger,”  Rajabdeen said assessing the outcomes of door-to-door delivery services.

He said that along with essential services, the security forces and healthcare workers, another service system came to our frontlines unexpectedly.

“These are our SME and micro sellers and micro delivery riders and taxi services –They all took brave risks, rose to their challenge, took over disrupted supply chains to deliver essential food deliveries to households, thereby saving lives of residents in lockdown-and also reducing the burden of the government from food delivery problems,” he said.

Rajabdeen said these SME and Micro delivery persons supplied a vast range of essential products to households -and more. In addition to various processed meats, seafood, groceries and fresh fruits and vegetables, they supplied medicines and other medical aid, personal protective equipment such as masks, various beverages, books, and stationery items and even computer equipment.

“We saw their capacity for Just In Time (JIT) delivery of essential items and groceries. Their shot JIT turnaround times kept deliveries flowing. With remarkable speed they saved people from hunger and even succeeded in sustaining urban family lifestyles. More importantly the seamless way restaurants, groceries, fresh fruits and vegetable SME and micro sectors merged with independent micro delivery networks to fulfil consumer needs is unprecedented. We saw clear trends orders based on Facebook, WhatsApp and web taking off along with call-in orders via phone lines. The SME suppliers and micro delivery networks had no issues in leveraging these platforms. All in all, it is the SME and micro sectors that clearly rose to meet the consumer demand pressures during the lockdown. Large scale supermarkets and FMCG firms too were delivering door-to-door but SME and micro deliveries pierced every nook and corner with speed. We thank the officials and Police service of Sri Lanka for giving SMEs, Micros, and the riders the required support in curfew passes. We also call officials to support them in boosting their sanitary standards and immunity boosting.”

The Confederation of Micro, Small and Medium Industries (COSMI) was formed in 2019 and aims to revive and foster the MSME and industry sectors of Sri Lanka.