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Bring cinnamon legislation to parliament as urgent bill

25 September 2015 02:37 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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•    Say reviewing of the use of ‘Ceylon Cinnamon Lion’ required 
•    Propose to set up a cinnamon development authority
•    Say lack of govt. support hindering industry progress


Cinnamon industry stakeholders urge national government 


By Lahiru Pothmulla
An urgent bill should be brought to parliament to get the approval for Geographical Indication (GI) legislation to boost Sri Lankan cinnamon industry and production, which is about 90 percent of the global true cinnamon production, Cinnamon Training Academy (CTA) Chairman Sarada De Silva said. 

“Whatever measures had been taken in this regard so far should go before parliament as an urgent bill so it will be passed. Everything was ready to bring in the bill to the previous parliament. But when it was about to be produced, parliament was dissolved. Therefore, I request the International Trade Ministry to take the GI legislation in this parliament as an urgent bill,” De Silva said, adding that it would not only be beneficial to the cinnamon industry but also to the entire country.   

GI registration will not only help to market and promote Sri Lankan cinnamon products but also to safeguard them against the violators of the law in the international market. 

Enumerating on the steps being taken to revive the industry, he lauded the steps taken by the government as well as the Export Development Board (EDB) to introduce the ‘Ceylon Cinnamon Lion’ logo.

However, he said despite 12 to 13 companies having obtained the logo, the use of the logo is somewhat stalled and it needed to be revived with the collaboration of the EDB. He also said about 40 companies are illegally using the logo.  

While stressing that the potential of the 2,500-year-old cinnamon industry has not yet been fully recognized, De Silva proposed that a cinnamon development authority be created under the purview of the International Trade Ministry to fully take control of the only monopoly industry the country has to drive it to the fullest potential.

Commenting on the CTA, De Silva said it was the only institution which had been created as a result of the industry demand and not because of some legislator had decided to create the academy. 

The CTA, he said was making arrangements to launch a project with the Toyohashi University of Technology, Japan to enhance the use of machinery in the industry. The academy is also mulling to seek the assistance of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to carry out testing, he said. 
De Silva noted that they had ample organisations willing to provide funds for the CTA and cinnamon industry but the lack of government input was making those organisations hesitant about investing in. 

Meanwhile, delivering the keynote speech, Tourist Promotion Bureau Chairman Rohantha Athukorala said that the private-public sector partnership, which helped Sri Lanka to achieve the first ethical tea producer and first ethical apparel sourcing destination titles, could help revive the cinnamon industry as well.     
The guest of honour of the event, International Trade State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe assured that they stand ready to assist the industry to reach its fullest potential and said the government led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had already created a peaceful country with good governances, which he said a better platform for businesses.  

“We have bigger plans to revamp the country’s business environment in the 60-month plan of Prime Minister Wickremesinghe. Sixty vocational training centres and 44 trade zones are to be established and I’m certain the cinnamon industry too can receive the advantage of these projects. There was an era where the businessmen had to give commissions or bribe the state sector to get something done. But it will happen no longer,” he said. 

The State Minister also said many foreign investors from countries like Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand had shown interest in investing in Sri Lanka and said a free trade agreement (FTA) is also to be signed with China. 

Meanwhile, chief guest Industry and Commerce Minister Rishard Bathiudeen said the spice and cinnamon industry is expected to achieve US $ 1 billion exports by the year 2020 and said the government led by President Maithripala Sirisena and Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe would continue supporting in realizing the target. 

“Measures to upgrade technology and GI for Ceylon cinnamon are important initiatives taken by the ministry to enhance not only cinnamon but the other spices as well. Also, several spices firms have been listed by the ministry for the ISO 22000 certification,” he said. 
The event sought the launch of the CTA website and exchange of the CTA and Vocational Training Authority’s Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). 
 
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