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Ceylon Cinnamon EU-PGI status promoted in Belgium

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The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Belgium conducted an event on 18 October 2022 to celebrate the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status granted to Ceylon Cinnamon specifically for Ceylon Cinnamon quills, Ceylon Cinnamon powder, Ceylon Cinnamon leaf oil, and Ceylon Cinnamon bark oil by the European Union (EU) in February 2022, and to promote Ceylon Cinnamon in Belgium. The event was attended by officials of the European Commission’s Directorates-General, the European External Action Service (EEAS), and the Belgian government, as well as representatives of business entities that are engaged in importing or using cinnamon in their various products in Belgium and media agencies. Director, International Affairs of the Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI) of the European Commission, John Clarke, who handles the PGI status for products, attended as a special guest. The objective of the event was to create awareness of the Ceylon Cinnamon with PGI status, which has been recognized as true cinnamon of high quality in the world cinnamon market. The European region largely uses Cinnamon Cassia, which is a cheaper substitute for Ceylon Cinnamon.

Ambassador Grace Asirwatham provided an introduction to the PGI status for Ceylon Cinnamon and the benefits that it presents to the producers, exporters, importers, and consumers in the EU region. The Ambassador said that Ceylon Cinnamon was a legacy and pride of Sri Lanka and added that while promoting Ceylon Cinnamon, Sri Lanka would like to share the inspiring story of Ceylon Cinnamon with the world. Further, the Ambassador said that Sri Lanka, being the true home of Ceylon Cinnamon, which holds 80% of the world market for Ceylon cinnamon, was confident that it would use the PGI status to penetrate into niche market segments in the EU and international markets.

The Sri Lankan companies associated with the event as coordinated by the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) and the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce include Verger Naturals (Pvt) Ltd., Elpitiya Plantations Plc, Lak Cinnamon Planters & Exporters Group (Pvt) Ltd., A. Baur & Company (Pvt) Ltd., Samagi Organics (Pvt) Ltd., Diamond International Lanka (Pvt) Ltd., Sanjeewaka Ayurvedic Products (Pvt) Ltd., Hddes Extracts (Pvt) Ltd., New Lanka Cinnamon (Pvt) Ltd., Silvermill, Ceyla Organics (Pvt) Ltd., Cinnamon One (Pvt) Ltd, and Enrich Tea & Food Exports (Pvt) Ltd.

Sri Lanka exports around 18,000MT of Ceylon Cinnamon to the world market, of which 45% is imported by South American countries and 14% by the US. The European region imports as little as 10% of Ceylon Cinnamon as it has been accustomed to using Cinnamon Cassia. The EU PGI status for Ceylon Cinnamon is a significant tool to differentiate Ceylon Cinnamon in the EU market from its substitutes of lower quality.

 



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Tea industry targets USD 1.2 bn export turnover in 2023

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Sri Lanka will earn around USD 1.2 billion from tea exports for 2023 exporting around 260 million Kg, said Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tea Board, (SLTB) Niraj de Mel, last week.

SLTB is forecasting a modest growth for 2023 in comparison to the current year estimating an increased production of 290 million Kgs with export revenues expected to increase to USD 1.4 billion. Due to the depreciation of the rupee against the dollar, during the first half of the year and a shortage of tea, sales caught up and auction prices increased sharply from March 2022. Despite fuel shortages and logistic issues, the Regional Plantation Companies and smallholders have been able to continue the harvesting of green leaf throughout the year. When compared to 2020 and 2021 volumes, the Green Leaf price to smallholders has increased exponentially from July 2022 onwards.

“The tea smallholder who used to get around Rs. 90 per kg three years ago is now getting around Rs. 250 per kg and some estates have paid nearly Rs. 1,000 per kg. He said that though the glyphosate fertiliser ban is lifted planters should not use it heavily as a ‘global ban of glyphosate’ is imminent for the tea industry. Some countries like Taiwan already reject tea grown with the use of glyphosate.” He recalled that tea production reached an all time high with a record of 340 million Kgs in 2013. “After short increases during the period 2017 to 2019, tea production recorded a decrease in 2020, mainly due to the fallout from the pandemic and now we are taking several steps to increase production.”

The Tea board is offering a host of financial grants and loans to the tea growers, factories as well as for exporters. “These include subsidies for replanting, fertiliser for growers, special grants and loans for factories to upgrade their machinery and soft loans for exporters for packaging. These facilities exceed Rs. 4 billion per year.”

Tea Commissioner E. Edirisinghe said that they would also provide Rs. I million for tea factory expansion which comes as a grant. “In addition, we pay 3% of the capital when factories install solar,” he said.

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Harin urges for ‘breathing space’ to revive tourism

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Minister of Tourism and Lands Harin Fernando said on Saturday that persistent political agitations make his job of promoting Sri Lanka as a safe and convenient tourist destination extremely difficult.

“Now the country has restarted to function although not at a comfortable level to everyone. People undergo many economic difficulties due to high cost of living. These issues need to be addressed and resolved one by one. Creating troubles constantly in a highly political way won’t help the country to come out of the crisis. It will only prolong the crisis.

As Minister of Tourism, I have a hard time promoting tourism in Sri Lanka because it is no easy task to convince potential overseas visitors that the situation is back to normal. So, I appeal to these parties to allow at least six months for the country resuscitate whose breathing had stopped for some time,” he said.

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UTECH Technologies recognised at Sahasak Nimavum Innovation Awards

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UTECH Technologies (Pvt) Limited, Sri Lanka’s leading Industry 4.0 transformation solutions provider won the most prestigious innovation award, the DASIS award at the Sahasak Nimavum National Innovation Awards held recently. The DASIS Award is judged across all competing categories and only awarded to the innovation that shows novelty in technology and has been commercialized successfully. This award is judged by a learned panel of national and international judges including academia and industry experts. UTECH also won overall gold for best commercialized ICT innovation. UTECH has won many national and international awards, including the overall gold for “IoT technology of the year” at the Asia Pacific ICT Awards (APICTA) in 2021.

UTECH’s Managing Director, Riyad Ismail said, “Having many Sri Lankan industrial conglomerates as our clients, we have started exporting our hardware and software solutions to world markets.”

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