Sri Lanka cinnamon trade says malpractices giving bad name

July 14, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan cinnamon prices are on the rebound after last year’s crash, but exporters are calling for curbs on malpractices which they say could give the spice a bad name among buyers. Among the problems are cinnamon of inferior colour, inferior infilling in quills, and high moisture content.

Trade experts said cinnamon is graded for quality according to the thickness of the bark, appearance – whether the quills are broken or whole – and aroma and flavour.

De Silva said everyone down the value chain has to be blamed for exports of inferior quality – from cultivators, to peelers and exporters.

“We need practical quality control measures,” de Silva said. “It should first start as voluntary measures, and if they don’t work, should be made compulsory.” Sarada de Silva, a former chairman of the Spice Council, said some producers and exporters resort to shipping cinnamon of inferior quality during times of strong demand and high prices.

“When prices go up some exporters get up to nefarious activities. Whenever the market starts moving up, they don™t make good quality,” he said.

“Instead of quality improving, sometimes we see the quality decreasing. We’re asking t