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President Inaugurates First-Ever Cinnamon Development Dept in Galle

President Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasized that the country�s progress would be undone without the implementation of a proper economic system. He stated that some individuals are spreading various statements aimed at undermining the economy and emphasized that falling prey to such false propaganda could lead to a permanent economic collapse.

The country risks losing its gains unless driven by a sound economic system.

The goal is to enhance cinnamon cultivation and bolster the export economy – President.

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The President made these remarks while attending the opening of the main office of the Department of Cinnamon Development in Karandeniya, Galle today (10).

A new department dedicated to the cultivation of cinnamon, called the Department of Cinnamon Development, was established and inaugurated following a proposal by President Ranil Wickremesinghe in the 2023 budget.

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe also launched the official website of the Department of Cinnamon Development.

During the event, he was presented with a ten-year road map for the promotion of the cinnamon industry and the “Cinnamon Handbook,” a technical publication on cinnamon cultivation.

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Additionally, President Wickremesinghe awarded GAP and GI certificates to selected cinnamon entrepreneurs.

Addressing the gathering, President Wickremesinghe further elaborated,

After 200 years, we are re-establishing this department to revive the development of cinnamon cultivation in the country. The primary responsibility of this department is to enhance cinnamon production, starting with increasing output. Each acre of land should yield maximum productivity, and we should focus on cultivating high-quality cinnamon varieties instead of inferior ones.

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Additionally, the area under cinnamon cultivation needs to expand. The government proposes providing new land and encouraging the cultivation of cinnamon alongside other crops. This initiative could potentially increase cinnamon production three to four times.

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Moreover, sales must be boosted as increased production is futile without corresponding sales growth. To achieve this, we can seek both local and international expertise to enhance sales. If companies take on this responsibility, the government is prepared to support them.

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Therefore, we should move forward by seizing new market opportunities. We aim to establish this institute as a Cinnamon Development Centre in the Karandeniya area, operating not under the old system but using modern methods.

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In this way, we are reaching into the past to secure our future.

The main reason for our country’s bankruptcy was reliance on an import economy, taking on huge loans for imports. With the right economic policies, we have managed to free ourselves from bankruptcy. We have also reduced our debt by about USD 8 billion and extended the repayment period until 2043. If we do not transition to an export economy, our country’s economy will collapse again in 15 years. Therefore, we must swiftly adopt a new economic system and earn foreign exchange through exports.

Historically, we supplied the world with cinnamon. Now, we must return to that legacy. In the past, cinnamon was cultivated from Puttalam to Hambantota. We need to restart these activities with a strategic plan. Additionally, we are working to attract new investments in various industries, including information technology.

The situation that prevailed in the country two years ago should not be repeated. Some claimed that the country was beyond recovery and that my assumption of power was illegitimate. Yet, we have managed to steer the country towards recovery. However, if we fail to proceed in the right direction, this achievement could slip through our fingers. We have now set a course for advancing the nation. Amidst diverse opinions and promises, our focus should be on safeguarding our hard-won progress and advancing further. Therefore, by staying on this correct path for another decade, we can seize the opportunity for uninterrupted development.

Minister of Industries and Health, Dr. Ramesh Pathirana,

I would like to express gratitude to President Ranil Wickremesinghe for founding the Department of Cinnamon Development in a region renowned for cinnamon cultivation. Sri Lankan cinnamon holds a distinctive position in the international market. There is significant demand for Sri Lankan cinnamon in Mexico and other Latin American countries, where much of it is re-exported to the United States. Many are unaware that cassia, often substituted for cinnamon globally, can be carcinogenic. Hence, with effective marketing, Sri Lankan cinnamon can achieve higher value recognition.

Minister of Agriculture and Plantation Industries, Mahinda Amaraweera,

The establishment of the Department of Cinnamon Development marks a historic milestone as the first department under the Ministry of Industry in the Southern Province. This department aims to impart modern technological knowledge essential for cinnamon cultivation and intends to expand cinnamon cultivation by introducing new lands.
Farmers in the Hambantota district are keen to cultivate cinnamon, which can mitigate the risks posed by wild elephants. Efforts should be directed towards promoting Sri Lankan cinnamon globally, highlighting the issues of cassia’s monopoly and its carcinogenic properties. This initiative holds significant potential to boost foreign exchange earnings.

Two years ago, farmers abandoned their fields due to lack of fertilizer and took to the streets. Since assuming the presidency, Ranil Wickremesinghe has facilitated fertilizer procurement through diplomatic relations. Today, Sri Lanka produces enough rice to meet domestic consumption, thanks to this program. Overall, President Ranil Wickremesinghe has steered Sri Lanka’s economy onto a more promising trajectory.

The event was attended by State Ministers Mohan Priyadarshana de Silva, D.B. Herath, MPs Vajira Abeywardena, Sampath Athukorale along with other public representatives of the province, Senior Adviser to the President on Economic Affairs Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga, Chairman of the Department of Cinnamon Development Janaka Lindara and various other dignitaries.