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Thursday, January 06, 2011 - 06.30 GMT

Spice market ready to welcome tourism boom


The spice industry in Sri Lanka could benefit from the expected influx of tourists as its products could be made use to promote health tourism.

The spice and derivatives market is booming because their products find applications in pharmaceutical, Âyurveda medicine, beverages and hygiene products.

Countries in the Asian region are the major producers of a variety of spices and Sri Lanka could position as a leading ayurvedic medicinal supplier both locally and internationally, Spices and Allied Product Producers' Association Chairman Christopher Fernando said.

“The spice industry has been witnessing phenomenon growth rates both in the international and domestic markets. This is mainly due to the change in the lifestyle pattern of consumers all over the world,” he said.

There has been a substantial increase in use of fresh herbs and spices due to an increased demand in the hotel industry. The change of consumers towards leading a healthy lifestyle has increased the use of herbs and natural spices for natural flavoring.

The use of spice derivatives like essential oils are being widely used internationally in food and beverage industries for flavoring and fragrances. This market provides a good opportunity for Sri Lanka.

The global demand of spices has increased due to an increase in demand and consumption of ethnic food, a sharp growth in the processed food consumption and an increase in the demand for natural fragrances for various health therapies.

The earliest evidence of Spices by Man could be traced back to 50,000 B.C. The Spice Trade developed throughout the Middle East in around 2000 B.C. with Cinnamon and Pepper, being the main spices used at that time, in the formative period of the industry. The Egyptians used herbs for embalming and their needs for exotic herbs at that time perhaps, stimulated the World Trade of Spices. In fact the word Spices originated from the same root as species - meaning kinds of goods. By 1000 B.C. Spices were among the most luxurious products available in Europe in the Middle Ages. It was Vasco Da Gama and Christopher Columbus who described to investors after their return from their voyages to India, the many new and unknown Spices available there.

Sri Lanka is world renowned for its quality spices and spices gardens. In order to promote and uplift spice growing and spice gardens of Sri Lanka a spice council was established with all key industry private and public sector stakeholders.

The importance of spices in the minor export crops of Sri Lanka consist of Fragrant clove, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, mace and pepper, for which Sri Lanka has been farmed since ancient times, thrive in the hills. Sri Lanka is considered to be the biggest exporter of cinnamon in the world today.

Sri Lanka is well known for practising nature-friendly treatment methods such as ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and homeopathy using herbs and spices grown in spice gardens of Sri Lanka. In order to promote this the Indigenous Medicine under the Gama Neguma Program has allocated 50 perches of land at Nikawaratiya to cultivate herbal plants and spices as spice gardens of Sri Lanka. The Ministry of Indigenous Medicine has also started cultivating medicinal plants at Pattipola, Girandurukotte, Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura.

The government last year declared year 2011 was declared as value addition year for the spice industry.







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Last modified: January 06, 2011.

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