- Spice crop expected to dip due to reduced access to artificial fertilisers and pesticides
- Seeks govt. assistance in educating farmers on benefits of transitioning to organic practices
By Shabiya Ali Ahlam
Sri Lanka’s spices and allied products sector is bracing itself to face a contraction in production across all spices by the end of this year due to reduced access to artificial fertilizers and pesticides, however the industry urges stakeholders to switch towards using organic materials for the same, an effort which the government
The Spices and Allied Products Producers and Traders’ Association (SAPPTA) told Mirror Business yesterday that while currently the sector is witnessing progress, especially for cinnamon and pepper, production volumes for different varieties of spices are expected to dip due to shortages in pesticides and fertilisers.
According to SAPPTA Chairperson E. A. Perera, farmers are reluctant to use organic alternatives as the process is labour-intensive, increasing the overall cost of production, but stressed that Sri Lanka should look towards moving along the path of organic production to fetch better prices, and a greater market share in the world market.
“Sri Lankan origin spices are known for its quality and to capitalise on this the government must step up efforts in promoting organic farming practices.
There is a higher demand across the world, and now seen in Sri Lanka as well, for organic products and the spices sector must make use of this,” Perera told Mirror Business.
Perera stressed the government must educate farmers on the benefits of making the transition towards organic practices which will allow spices to contribute higher revenues to the national economy.
Perera asserted the need for better research and development efforts so that Sri Lankan origin spices can be promoted not only for culinary purposes but for medicinal purposes as well.
He shared that since the pandemic, an increase in global demand is observed for spices such as cinnamon, pepper and turmeric, and Sri Lanka can make use of this ongoing trend, but to do so required are improved research and development efforts.
“The idea of value addition has to improve. It is much more than processing these spices into oil and powder. Those are basics and we need to move forward from here if we are to gain. Selling pepper with a Rs. 5 margin is not the way to continue,” stressed Perera.