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USD 3 million worth orders from USA for local spices

Spice Council mission brings results



POPULAR : Local spices

SPICES: The Spice Council (TSC) was able to clinch more than USD 3 million worth of orders for the local spice industry during their recent visit to USA.

Chairman of the TSC, Sarada De Silva said that they got orders for mixed spices, organic spices and value added spices.

Before their visit to the USA they had done a marketing survey to understand the market needs. Twelve companies had applied for the USA visit but only six companies qualified under the market expansion programme in USA.

Through this market expansion programme all the companies were able to establish stable linkages with US buyers to supply local spices for a long period of time to the US market. Apart from this USD 3 million worth orders some other spice companies who didn't participate in the mission were also able to gain orders through the visit he said.

During their visit to the US, the delegation participated in the largest natural, organic and health products show, Natural Products West Expo in California. TSC delegation members also met spice brokers, importers, agents, grinders and processors to explore market expansion in US.

The initiative was supported by USAID through its The Competitiveness Programme (TCP).

The Programme Specialist of TCP, Alex Ponweera said in USA market there is a huge demand for hand picked cloves, cinnamon, white sesame, organic turmeric and ginger. Though the market is price sensitive high quality spices fetch premium prices in USA.'In USA we have noticed many spice companies outsource spice processing and blending to countries such as India, China and Indonesia.

In China the processing cost is very much lower and American spice companies never invest on spice extraction in USA since lot of documentation has to be done there. There is a huge market potential for spice processing and blending in Sri Lanka', he said.

US buyers are mainly focused on cleanliness, traceability and sustainable agriculture practices. 'In 2005 the US imported 15000 million tonnes of cinnamon and Ceylon Cinnamon accounted for nearly 5% of the total. In US there is no competition from cassia for Ceylon Cinnamon. Ceylon Cinnamon could gain four times higher prices than cassia in the US market.

'Though there is a demand for cinnamon in the international market, local cinnamon production is not enough to meet this demand,' he said.

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