Enhancing capacity in the cinnamon value chain

Slideshow or image 
Srilanka cinnamon peeler
Start Date 
End Date 

Enhancing capacity in the cinnamon value chain

The key project's objectives are to increase the volume supplied to the export markets and upgrade the quality and food safety compliance to meet the conformity requirements of high-end markets.

On 21 June 2016, the STDF and UNIDO organized a joint information session on the project. Detailed information on the Session is available here.


The cinnamon trade is not only Sri Lanka’s oldest trade but the only trade were Sri Lanka holds a monopoly in the world market for true cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum blume) due to the high quality. However, the country’s cinnamon exports to the world market, especially the European and North America are gradually diminishing. The enterprises engaged in the cinnamon industry believe the main reasons for this loss of competitiveness is the price (compared to cassia, a cheaper substitute) and the inability to supply demanded scales due to the cinnamon not meeting the necessary buyer product specifications and food and hygienic standards (so called Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards or SPS). Several other factors like human resource availability, applied skills, training infrastructure, etc. are also affecting and straining the value chain. The project aims at establishing an institutional training delivery mechanism and a national framework for training operators involved in the cinnamon industry to produce cinnamon meeting the necessary buyer product specifications and food and hygienic standards.

Expected Results 

Building capacity to deliver food hygiene and safety training strengthened along the cinnamon value chain

The project aims to improve the food safety and hygiene as well as introduce Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) along the value chain. This will be achieved through various components of the project. Firstly, national competency standards " National Competency Standards for Cinnamon Field and Factory Operations" were formulated  and adopted by the relevant national authority, the Tertiary and vocational Education Commission (TVEC). Outline curriculum and a training plan were developed to implement these standards.

The developed national vocational qualification (NVQ) framework and the competency standards will support the cinnamon field and factory level employees to obtain nationally recognised training qualification. This will also have a social impact as they will be able to uplift their social standards. It is expected that more unemployed youth will get attracted to the employments in the cinnamon industry with recognised social status and a good remuneration. Attraction of more people into the industry will address the issue of peeler scarcity by providing a skilled workforce to the industry. This will in return enable the industry to increase the production capacities and volumes to meet the global demand.

Secondly, the project aims to develop an internationally accredited scheme to accredit the personnel in the cinnamon value chain.  Jointly with the Sri Lanka Standards Institute (SLSI) and the American National Standard Institute (ANSI), the project carried out a feasibility study for a suitable approach for developing a personal certification scheme under ISO17024.

Finally, the project supported the creation, of the Cinnamon Training Academy (CTA), a public-private partnership led by the industry and supported by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce,  that would assume a training function for the sector as well as other services. A due diligence study was carried out for the creation of the CTA and an internationally qualified management company was contracted to develop a five-year strategic plan to ensure its full sustainability. The work programme for the CTA including human resource recruitment schedule, training materials for a pilot training program, and a scheme to assess and award certificates to graduates was elaborated based on the competency standards developed for the sector.

The registration of the CTA as a NVQ-level training provider will be carried out accordingly. The national level accreditation of the training function by TVEC shall be carried out once the training infrastructure at the CTA is fully in place. Fulfilling all these prerequisites will enable CTA to deliver standardized training and award nationally accepted certificates. 

Enhancing compliance capacities of the cinnamon processors through certification according to national and international standards           

Inability to supply demanded scales due to the cinnamon not meeting the necessary buyer product specifications and food and hygienic standards (SPS) is one major bottleneck faced by the industry. Supporting the cinnamon processors to enhance their production compliance capacities through certification will enable the product to meet the high-end conformity requirements of European and North American markets. This will also support the branding effort of Ceylon cinnamon by the Government in the global market. In partnership with the Sri Lankan non-profit certification and training body IndExpo, a gap analysis was conducted to a selected number of GMP centres. Their staff will be trained according to international best practices and within the framework developed under the project training component.

Setting up a fully-fledged institute for the cinnamon sector will overcome the issue of lacking an institutionalized system to assure market conformity standards and to address other bottlenecks faced by the industry. This will support the industry’s competitiveness and growth.

Supporting the “Pure Ceylon Cinnamon” mark gaining credibility              

The Sri Lankan Government is working through the Export Development Board (EDB) to brand the quality of Sri Lankan cinnamon products in the world market through a Certification Trade Mark, “Pure Ceylon Cinnamon”. The project is aiming to develop a common understanding among the stakeholders to implement training as an integral part of the “Pure Ceylon Cinnamon” mark and set up a framework and implementation strategy for the “Pure Ceylon Cinnamon”.

The entire process from competency standards to curriculum development will be based on SLS: 81: 2010, ISO 22000, HACCP, and principles of GAP. Furthermore, the training contents will be developed to assure quality standards of Pure Ceylon Cinnamon, which are SLS 82: 2010.

Having a workforce trained according to nationally recognised training qualifications and conforming with nationally and internationally accepted quality & food safety and hygienic standards will support the cinnamon industry to be price competitive in the global market. It will also secure its long standing monopoly in the segment of True Cinnamon by providing a high quality product to the consumers.

Supporting Sri Lankan cinnamon to obtain Geographical Indication                    

The Sri Lankan Government is working on obtain Geographical Indication (GI) for Ceylon cinnamon in the EU through the EDB. The registration of the “Pure Ceylon Cinnamon” mark as a GI will provide Ceylon cinnamon a high-end intellectual property protection in the EU markets. This will provide a value for Ceylon cinnamon for its intrinsic qualities and long standing reputation. Moreover the GI will enable true cinnamon to be protected against deceptive products. It also gives Ceylon cinnamon a marketing and promotional value in the global market. The local quality control will also ensure that all producers are adhering to national and international requirements and standards.

As GI is a new area for the country as well as for the cinnamon industry, all stakeholders involved in the process need a clear understanding on the process of obtaining a GI. The project supported together with the FAO an in-depth analysis to identify the knowledge and process gaps in obtaining GI for Ceylon Cinnamon. The FAO developed a road map and provided recommendations for its implementation.

Reference Number 
Project Value (US$) 
STDF Contribution (US$)  
Sri Lanka
Implementing Entities 
United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
The Spice Council of Sri Lanka (TSC)