Sri Lankan Government suspends gazette allowing import of selected spices for re-export

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The Sri Lankan government has revoked the gazette notification that previously allowed the import of selected spices for re-export.

On January 01, 2023, the government had imposed a ban on importing spices to Sri Lanka. However, in a memorandum presented by the Investment Promotion Minister on December 06, 2023, the Finance Ministry permitted the import of selected spices grown in Sri Lanka, such as pepper, nutmeg, mace (Vasavasi), turmeric, ginger, and cardamom, for re-export purposes.

This decision, however, was reversed following a request made by Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera to President Ranil Wickremesinghe during the Cabinet meeting convened on Monday (March 11).

Minister Amaraweera pointed out that allowing the import of these spices for re-export discourages local spice farmers, leading to the collapse of cultivation of local spice products. Additionally, he highlighted the potential adverse impact on the quality of spices in Sri Lanka, which currently holds a top rank among the world’s best spices.

Considering these factors, the Cabinet decided to suspend the relevant gazette announcement and halt the import of spices to Sri Lanka for re-export.

The minister also mentioned that the Cabinet’s attention is focused on conducting a comprehensive study to maintain the quality of local spices and determine the government’s role in further developing local spices as plantation crops.