The importance of conserving the botanical name of Ceylon Cinnamon - Cinnamomum zeylanicum Blume – was raised at the Annual General Meeting of The Spice Council (TSC) held recently in Colombo. TSC Chairman D. A. Perera, commenting on this, said over the years the Council has made several representations to, among others, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of International Trade on this issue.
He announced TSC's intention to promote planting of vetiver and basil as the demand for these crops is increasing rapidly in the international market.
Sirisena Gamlath, Deputy Minister of Agrarian Services and Melani Schultz, Acting Chief of Party of USAID graced the occasion where Mr Perera explained why and how TSC was formed in 2003. Among its highlights is the Model Spice Village in Kaikawala, Matale launched last year, which allows small-scale spice farmers to network with each other via a centralized processing facility equipped with the latest spice dryers to process mostly pepper and cloves.
Under the project a private limited liability company Matale Natural Spices (Pvt) Ltd was formed and registered under the Companies Act with TSC investing Rs. 80,000 and seven farmers investing Rs. 140,000 each. Four workshops were held for members of this company and the villagers on Organization Management, Financial Management and Business Plan Development, Standard Operation Procedures and Quality Assurance.
Another project initiated by TSC is the Cinnamon Training Academy for cinnamon processors in the Galle District to train cinnamon peelers on food safety standards of GMP and HACCP. This is with the intention of increasing cinnamon production and exports by 30-50% as well as to try and enter the high end European, US and Japanese markets. TSC has also formed the Cinnamon Training Academy Ltd with help from a generous cinnamon grower who donated the land and the Sri Lanka Export Development Board who invested Rs. 3 million, as did the Spice Council.