Sri Lanka badly in need of more cinnamon peelers

Chief Regulatory Officer at CSE Renuke Wijayawardhane presenting the listing certificate to Executive Chairperson at Renuka Hotels Shibani Thambiayah

May 13, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka, the world’s biggest exporters of cinnamon, needs 10,000 more peelers to overcome an acute shortage of labour, members of the trade have told the ministry of industry and commerce. Of the 30,000 hectares of cinnamon grown in Sri Lanka, only one-fifth are peeled twice a year with 70 percent peeled only once a year, incurring potential foreign exchange losses, a ministry statement quoted exporters as saying.

“Sri Lanka™s cinnamon industry needs another 10,000 peelers due to the worker shortage,” the statement said.

The worker shortage also meant cinnamon peelers were being paid better and demanding an increasing share of earnings.

Currently, a cinnamon peeler earns between 30,000 to 45,000 rupees a month, with a mere three months ˜on the job™ training, the statement said.

It quoted exporters who are members of the ministry’s advisory council as saying that high labour costs are a serious burden.

Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce, said Sri Lanka™s spice industry needs to re-invest its profits back, ensuring industry growth.

He said cinnamon production could be increased by enlisting households to grow cinnamon under a gov