Sri Lanka govt inaction on theft seen threatening spice trade

Aug 30, 2010 (LBO) – The Sri Lankan government’s failure to crack down on theft in spice plantations is threatening the industry, a key foreign exchange earner and provider of employment, a senior official has warned. Christopher Fernando, chairman of the Spices and Allied Products Producers™ and Traders™ Association (SAPPTA), said theft of produce was a serious concern to the sector especially at a time when it was trying to increase production.

“At our last annual general meeting too we implored the government to introduce rules of deterrence against theft of produce in order to save our crops. But our call has not been heard,” he told the association’s recent AGM.

“So we appeal once again to the government to take quick action to safeguard the industry,” Fernando said.

“If not, the theft of produce could be the killer of the spice industry.”

Fernando has said that unchecked theft of produce could discourage private investment in spice cultivation which SAPPTA was trying to encourage.

Local spice production was not enough to meet overseas demand and foreign exchange earnings could be increased if there was more cultivation, according to the association.

The government itself