The Cinnamon growth trend looks set to continue in future driven by the realization of the dual value in Cinnamon-in that, it is not only a spice but also has become a weight loss aid. This shows the increasing touch-points of Pure Ceylon Cinnamon as a brand. Strong Private Public Partnerships and development of scientific research and development will boost the Cinnamon industry further, says Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry Commerce.
The Ministers speech was delivered at the launch of Pure Ceylon Cinnamon Brand event on September 02 at Hotel Taj Samudra, Colombo. In his absence (due to unavoidable circumstances), Minister Bathiudeen’s speech was delivered to the audience by Mrs Sujatha Weerakoon, Director General of Sri Lanka Export Development Board.
“The government also clearly understands the emerging supply side and skill availability needs in the Cinnamon industry and believes that strengthening of the Cinnamon supply chains by encouraging more youth to enter the industry can help in sustaining industry’s growth, while also giving a viable solution for unemployment” Minister Bathiudeen said.
Sri Lanka annually produces 16000 tonnes of cinnamon of which 13000 are exported. More than 70 countries import Ceylon Cinnamon with Mexico being the leading importer claiming 49% of Sri Lanka’s Cinnamon exports in 2010. 80% of Cinnamon exports are in raw form, mostly as cinnamon bails.
According to the statistics, 31,000 Hectares are under Cinnamon Cultivation of which 60% are peeled only once a year. 36% of Cinnamon cultivation in Sri Lanka is in the Galle District. Sri Lanka plans to double the cultivated land extent within the next three years. Approximately 260,000 families are actively involved in the cultivation and processing. The newly launched Pure Ceylon Cinnamon logo belongs to the Export Development Board (EDB) which acts as the custodian of the logo on behalf of Sri Lankans.
“I propose to encourage more and more youth to enter the industry by generating fresh interest among them and I believe this will greatly help solve one key supply side issue in the long run. We also need to create awareness of the rewarding employment opportunities now open to them in the Cinnamon sector so that Cinnamon becomes a key solution for unemployment in the country. At the same time, we should take steps to well prepare the new entrants to the industry by providing practical training arrangements at institutional and informal levels so that they can readily contribute from day one” Minister Bathiudeen said, and added: “I have noted that the Department of Export Agriculture and some private sector companies have done research to develop value added products from spices including Cinnamon. My Ministry is willing to extend the required assistance to you to commercialize these research findings and promote the products in the international market. It is evident that Private Public Partnership has become a key element in developing the Cinnamon and even the overall spice industry of Sri Lanka. I believe therefore that Private Public Partnership will be the way forward for Cinnamon and our spices and my Ministry is looking to facilitate this aspect in increasing levels so that we can advance the industry further through a scientifically developed sound research and development base” Minister Bathiudeen voiced.”
Speaking on the strong contribution of Cinnamon export earnings in 2011 first half’s export revenues, he said: “Cinnamon is the most important and valuable spice produced in Sri Lanka. According to the statistics 31,000 Hectares are under Cinnamon Cultivation. Approximately 260,000 families are actively involved in the cultivation and processing and the total beneficiaries of the industry are more than one Million. In fact, this event of Pure Ceylon Cinnamon branding could not have come at a more opportune time since we are now preparing for the 2012 mega export exhibition and more importantly, Sri Lanka just recorded an export growth rate of 35.1 percent compared to 2010 first half. I am glad to inform you that we have achieved 56% of the export target within the first six months and hope that we can easily surpass the annual export target of US dollars 9.1 billion exports by the end of 2011. I am also happy to inform you that Cinnamon is a key contributor in the 17.65 percent growth of overall agricultural export increase in the first half of 2011, realizing the goals of the Mahinda Chinthana policy framework. Within agricultural exports category, exports in the spice basket increased by 32 percent and this increase was mainly pushed in turn by the 81 percent increase in Cinnamon export earnings. Cinnamon alone accounted for nearly 45 percent of total export earnings within our spice basket. Export volume of cinnamon too grew by 44 percent in the first half of 2011. Sri Lanka is the largest producer of true Cinnamon in the world accounting for about 70% of the global supply. The Cinnamon growth trend looks set to continue in future driven by the realization of the dual value in Cinnamon, that, it is not only a spice but also has become a weight loss aid, which shows the increasing touch-points of Pure Ceylon Cinnamon brand as it gains more recognition thereby showing the urgent need for brand engagement. Therefore I am not only assured about the success in this effort, but even feel positive of the timeliness of this enterprise as a branding initiative to strongly secure our niche in the competitive international spice trade. We at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and its Export Development Board warmly commend the overall spice industry and Cinnamon industry for its improved customer focus and quality enhancement efforts since the formation of industry cluster way back in 2001 and then formalizing it in 2003. We clearly understand the emerging supply side and skill availability needs in the Cinnamon industry to sustain the growing international demand. We believe that this is no less than a crucial testimony to the high quality of our Pure Ceylon Cinnamon. To this end I believe that strengthening of the Cinnamon supply chains and overcoming the supply side constraints by enhancing cinnamon processing capacities is vital, among others.”
Revealing the efforts of the Ministry and EDB towards the Cinnamon industry, he said: “The Export Development Board under my Ministry has developed the Trade Mark for Cinnamon, to market it as a branded product. The Lion Logo displayed on the screen few minutes ago is the second National Brand launched by Sri Lankan Government for an Agriculture Product after Pure Ceylon Tea. This Trade Mark will be registered in the USA which is the major market for Cinnamon and also in the European Union. Sri Lanka has been lobbying for better recognition of “true cinnamon” in the international market in order to obtain Ceylon Cinnamon a proper identity than that of Cassia Cinnamon which is cheaper and considerably inferior.
Separate Harmonized System Codes have been established to differentiate the true Cinnamon from Cassia. The EDB has already assisted 20 Cinnamon processing centers to upgrade them to GMP status. Some Cinnamon export companies have obtained HACCP certificate for their processing centres to conform their produce to international food safety regulations.”
Enlisting the diplomatic community’s support in the international branding effort, Minister Bathiudeen requested: “I wish to take this opportunity to request the Heads of Foreign Missions who are present here today to take the message of “Pure Ceylon Cinnamon” to your respective countries and enable required publicity to promote our Cinnamon to be a winner in the global marketplace. Of course, I also invite you to indulge in the unique flavour and aroma of Pure Ceylon Cinnamon whenever you can, during your stay in Sri Lanka.”
Thanking the stakeholders and also pledging his fullest support, Minister Bathiudeen stressed: “I thank all the public and private stakeholders of the Industry for the continuous dedication they have shown to sustain it to this date. I also wish to thank the Chairman of EDB for taking the leadership for this nationally important task. I will assure you the fullest support from me and my Ministry to promote Pure Ceylon Cinnamon and other Spices Allied products exports from Sri Lanka thereby permanently positioning Sri Lanka in the world marketplace of high quality spices.”
– Asian Tribune –