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  • Industry Capability of Ceylon Spice Industry

    Sri Lanka’s Spice Industry Capability

    Sri Lanka has been a celebrated destination for its spices since its early history, and bloody wars have been waged to conquer and control its spice trade. Ceylon cinnamon and pepper had been the celebrated spices of the world as far as the 15th Century.

    Today Sri Lankan spice and concentrate industry are composed of a large variety of products, ranging from bulk spice products like true cinnamon to value-added essential oils. The sector is dominated by smallholders, and over 70% of cultivated land is smallholdings and home gardens. Sri Lanka exports around 30,000 tons of various kinds of spices annually.

    Over 90% of the spice and allied products manufactured in Sri Lanka are consumed by the global food and beverage industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and the personal care product industry.

    Key Products

    The main spices produced in Sri Lanka include Cinnamon, Pepper, Cardamom, Cloves, Ginger, Vanilla, Nutmeg and Mace and the country is the ninth most important exporter of spices in the world.

    While most of the Ceylon Spices are exported in the form of bulk, unprocessed spices, the country also exports essential oils and oleoresins made from spices and herbs. Moreover, the popularity of Sri Lankan cuisine has given rise to a growing industry of Sri Lankan condiments and spice preparations.

    Ceylon Cinnamon

    Sri Lanka holds the monopoly for Ceylon Cinnamon or true cinnamon, with a unique fragrance and taste, as well as a remarkably low amount of coumarin. Cinnamon is the third largest agriculture export from Sri Lanka with 31,000 hectares under cultivation employing nearly 400,000 people directly and indirectly.

    With an average export earning recorded at USD 191 million and another USD seven million for value-added products, cinnamon holds great potential as a major revenue and employment generation avenue in Sri Lanka. EDB Sri Lanka holds the ownership of the “Pure Ceylon Cinnamon” (PCC) branding as well as other associate names “Ceylon Cinnamon”, “Sri Lanka Cinnamon” and Sri Lanka “Kurundu”. The “Pure Ceylon Cinnamon” trademark is registered in the EU, Mexico, the USA, Peru and Colombia with the objectives of differentiating it from Cassia.

    Ceylon Pepper

    Pepper was found growing in the wild in ancient Sri Lanka and can be found as a home garden or a mid-range crop in Sri Lanka, today. It is mainly cultivated in low and mid regions with a cooler climate, The total number of pepper cultivated land amounts to nearly 30,320 hectares in Sri Lanka and many cultivators combine pepper cultivation with another crop, practising mix-crop cultivation.The weather and soil have a greater effect on the taste of peppercorn and the level of piperine,the alkaloid responsible for the pungency and aroma of pepper.

    Sri Lankan pepper has a high level of piperine, compared to the other pepper exporters in the world and carries a taste quite similar to the renowned Malabar Pepper.Sri Lankan pepper manufacturers mainly produce black pepper and white pepper from their harvest. While black and white peppercorns are both the fruit of the pepper plant, they are processed differently to bring out different colour and strength. Sri Lanka caters to 6% of the global demand for pepper earning an average revenue of USD 87 million through exports made to India, Germany and the USA among others.

    Ceylon Cardamom

    The third most expensive spice in the world spice market second only to saffron and vanilla, cardamom was introduced to Sri Lanka by the British-East India Company, to fill the growing demand for cardamom grown in the Indo-China region, in the global spice market.

    Cultivated in the central hill country of Sri Lanka, the size of cardamom cultivation in Sri Lanka amounts to nearly 2794 hectares, producing an average of 320 metric tons per year.Sri Lanka today catered to 0.1% of the global export demand for cardamom in the year 2018, recording a drastic drop of 91.3% compared to the year 2017. Ceylon Cardamom is mainly exported to India, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq, earning an export revenue of USD 607k.

    Ceylon Cloves

    Introduced to the country by Ancient Arabic spice traders, Ceylon Clove is grown in the Mid Country wet zone of Sri Lanka. The country has nearly 7700 hectares of clove cultivation spread across the mid-country wet zone areas including Kandy, Kegalle and Matale districts. Sri Lanka produces an average of 5301 metric tons of cloves per year and is among the top ten clove exporting countries to the world market. The country earned an average revenue of USD 30 million from clove exports for the year 2017/18, mainly serving the demand of India, German, USA and Poland.

    Essential Oil

    Sri Lanka exports a range of essential oils including Ceylon Cinnamon Oil, Pepper Oil, Cardamom Oil, Ceylon Citronella Oil, Clove Oil and Nutmeg Oil for export markets in the USA, India, Singapore, Germany, the USA and France, earning an average revenue on USD 66 Million. Mainly used for perfumery, cosmetic or toilet preparations essential oil industry in Sri Lanka is governed by four main distilleries, 12 small and medium scale distilleries as well as nearly 170 field distillation units.

    Industry Capability Report for Ceylon Spices and Allied Products

Spices, Essential Oils & Oleoresins

Sri Lanka is well known for the variety and quality of spices it provides. From Ceylon Cinnamon to cardamom, pepper, cloves, nutmeg, and various others, the spice exports of Sri Lanka are at an all-time high.

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