President Ranil Wickremesinghe has called for a comprehensive program to revive the country’s spice industry, which was once a major source of income.

Speaking at the 19th Annual General Meeting of the Spice Council, the Head of State urged that a proper plan be prepared for the revival of the industry and said that the government is ready to provide the necessary support, according to the President’s Media Division (PMD).

The President stressed the importance of bringing the private sector together to implement the program promptly.

Expressing his views further, President Ranil Wickremesinghe said;

“Sri Lanka once had the world’s best spices, but our neglect of the industry in the past 30-40 years has led to a decline in our income from spices.

“This needs to change. As we implement economic reforms and debt sustainability measures, we must become a more competitive and export-oriented economy. We need to earn more foreign exchange to repay our debt and ensure a positive balance of payments.

“One way to achieve this is to focus on an export economy that is competitive and generates foreign exchange through economic activities. Spices can be one of the main sectors of this economy.

“In the past, the Sri Lankan economy was heavily dependent on the spice sector. We need to expand our focus to a broader market. The government has already taken some steps in this direction, such as establishing a separate department for cinnamon development.

“Other spices that have been cultivated in Sri Lanka since ancient times include pepper and many others. We need to work through a targeted program to improve the production and export of these spices.

“Sri Lanka is known for its high-quality coffee and cocoa, in addition to spices. The government is prepared to provide the land and resources needed to develop these sectors, and there is also private land available. Let us all work together to achieve this.

“We should also immediately implement an agricultural modernization program that incorporates new technologies. This will help us to improve productivity and efficiency and to compete more effectively in the global market.

“The private sector has a vital role to play in this endeavour. I therefore urge the Spice Council to develop a plan for promoting the spice industry and I assure you that the Minister and I are ready to provide the necessary support.”