The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Belgium conducted an event on 18 October 2022 to celebrate the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status granted to Ceylon Cinnamon specifically for Ceylon Cinnamon quills, Ceylon Cinnamon powder, Ceylon Cinnamon leaf oil, and Ceylon Cinnamon bark oil by the European Union (EU) in February 2022, and to promote Ceylon Cinnamon in Belgium. The event was attended by officials of the European Commission’s Directorates-General, the European External Action Service (EEAS), and the Belgian government, as well as representatives of business entities that are engaged in importing or using cinnamon in their various products in Belgium and media agencies. Director, International Affairs of the Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI) of the European Commission, John Clarke, who handles the PGI status for products, attended as a special guest. The objective of the event was to create awareness of the Ceylon Cinnamon with PGI status, which has been recognized as true cinnamon of high quality in the world cinnamon market. The European region largely uses Cinnamon Cassia, which is a cheaper substitute for Ceylon Cinnamon.
Ambassador Grace Asirwatham provided an introduction to the PGI status for Ceylon Cinnamon and the benefits that it presents to the producers, exporters, importers, and consumers in the EU region. The Ambassador said that Ceylon Cinnamon was a legacy and pride of Sri Lanka and added that while promoting Ceylon Cinnamon, Sri Lanka would like to share the inspiring story of Ceylon Cinnamon with the world. Further, the Ambassador said that Sri Lanka, being the true home of Ceylon Cinnamon, which holds 80% of the world market for Ceylon cinnamon, was confident that it would use the PGI status to penetrate into niche market segments in the EU and international markets.
The highlight of the Ambassador’s presentation was the detailed explanation of the differences between Ceylon Cinnamon and Cinnamon Cassia, stressing Ceylon Cinnamon’s high quality, distinctive production process, unique flavor and aroma, slender-thickness of cinnamon quills, delicate taste and properties that contribute to many health benefits, and the important characteristic of the ultra-low level of coumarin, which makes it a healthier choice for consumers. In his address to the gathering, Director John Clarke congratulated Sri Lanka and appreciated the efforts being made to make maximum use of PGI status to increase exports of Ceylon Cinnamon to the EU region.
During the business promotional event, profiles of thirteen (13) Sri Lankan companies were shared and their product samples were displayed for promotion among the potential importers and distributors in Belgium. The Sri Lankan companies associated with the event as coordinated by the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) and the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce include Verger Naturals (Pvt) Ltd., Elpitiya Plantations Plc, Lak Cinnamon Planters & Exporters Group (Pvt) Ltd., A. Baur & Company (Pvt) Ltd., Samagi Organics (Pvt) Ltd., Diamond International Lanka (Pvt) Ltd., Sanjeewaka Ayurvedic Products (Pvt) Ltd., Hddes Extracts (Pvt) Ltd., New Lanka Cinnamon (Pvt) Ltd., Silvermill, Ceyla Organics (Pvt) Ltd., Cinnamon One (Pvt) Ltd, and Enrich Tea & Food Exports (Pvt) Ltd.
Sri Lanka exports around 18,000MT of Ceylon Cinnamon to the world market, of which 45% is imported by South American countries and 14% by the US. The European region imports as little as 10% of Ceylon Cinnamon as it has been accustomed to using Cinnamon Cassia. The EU PGI status for Ceylon Cinnamon is a significant tool to differentiate Ceylon Cinnamon in the EU market from its substitutes of lower quality. It will act as a source of competitive advantage, which will help to increase market differentiation and product turnover and allow for a premium price from the consumer. A coordinated and intense action plan is needed to promote EU PGI quality-certified Ceylon Cinnamon in all EU countries in order to develop a competitive position and enhance Ceylon Cinnamon’s market share in the European market.
Embassy of Sri Lanka