Awarding Ceremony 2023




Honorable Dilum Amunugama, Minister of Investments Promotion,
H.E. Katsuki Kotaro, Minister, Deputy Head of Embassy of Japan,
Dr. Jairo Villamill Diaz, International Senior Expert, UNIDO.
Dr. Kingesly Bernard, Chairman Export Development Board,
Mr. C.B. Ranasinghe. Divisional Secreatary, Balapitya, 
Senior Government officials
Fellow Directors and Investors of CTA,
Distinguish Invitees, Ladies and Gentlemen.

It gives me great pleasure to warmly welcome all of you to Cinnamon Training Academy (CTA), for the National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) Certificates Awarding Ceremony.

Hon. Minster, we are extremely happy to have a young dynamic minister in charge of investment promotion. With your private sector management experience and the dynamic way you are attending to the function of ministry augurs well for Sri Lanka. You represent  spice producing province, producing pepper, Clove, Nutmeg and Cinnamon. Training is of importance to you.

Your Excellency Katsuki Kotaro you are a true friend of Sri Lanka. We are aware of the role you are playing rebuilding the relations between our two countries.

With your private sector background and liaising with international agencies like UNIDO at the Foreign Ministry, our country can gain very much from your experiences.

Most importantly you are accessible to all most all Srilankan’s.

Dr. Kingesly Bernard, you are one of us having worked in the public and Private sectors.

I will failing my duty if I do not refers to the History of Cinnamon at least briefly.

According Dr. K. D. G. Wimalaratne, former director of Archives, it is recorded that during the reign of  Egyptian Pharaoh Queen Hatshepsut in heliographic records in 1550 B.C. Which is over 3573 years ago

We have records of Sri Lankan kings sending emissaries with ships full of Cinnamon, Pearls and Ivory to the courts of Rome and China. 

Over the these 3500 years there are numerous records in Srilankan, Roman, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and British histories. 

In 1723 Cinnamon peelers revolted against the Dutch oppression. Probably the first time that a vocation has revolted and refused to work. 

This was long before the stone masons struck work in Australia and the famous Haymarket strike in Chicago, USA on 01st May 1886.  ……….

History of CTA 

Like Rome CTA was not built in a day. Since 2005 I have been lobbying for this. for long time. We would have given more than 40 proposals to various Ministries, Prime Ministers and Presidents over the years.

The need to meet the acute shortage of Cinnamon processors with trained and certified processors. 25% - 65% -10%.

High-end Buyers are requesting for Triple P’s,  Product, Process, People.

With a project proposal grant from WTO-STDF we did detailed survey and found that there was a shortage of more than 35,000 cinnamon processors. With help of UNIDO we did a detailed project proposal.

We were fully funded and assisted by WTO-STDF, UNIDO, FAO, IFEAT, GOSL/EDB and the twenty industry leader who invested. ……….

Project was implemented UNIDO.

We set out to build CTA as the Centre of Excellence for Cinnamon Industry in Sri Lanka and aims to achieve following objectives:

Train operators and enterprises at all stages of cinnamon value chain to increase the production capacity and enhance quality and standards compliance.

Improve social outlook and maintain status of cinnamon industry.

Promote and certify quality and standards conformity in cinnamon trade.

Provide R&D services and transfer new technology know-how.

Disseminate pertinent Information and support advocacy.

CTA is truly a Public and private Sector partnership with DG of DEA and senior officer of EDB represented on the board of directors.

CTA was ceremonially opened by Hon. Sarath Amunugama Senior Minister on 05th April 2016. 

EU funded the model brought tree processing factory in 2021. This too was implemented by UNIDO.

CTA is the only organisation in Sri Lanka approved and accredited by Tertiary Vocational Education Commission (TVEC) that can award NVQ level 3 & 4 in the cinnamon industry.

We provide training from selection of a seeds for nursery, planting, growing, plantation management, harvesting and processing up to the point of exports under an approved curriculum by TVEC.

I wish to sincerely thank  Mr. Melvin Spreij, Ms. Kenza Le Mentec of WTO-STDF, Dr. Lalith Goonatilleke, Mr. Bernardo, Mr. Steffen Kasser, Mr. J.P. Diaz Castillo, Mr. Ali Bardarneh, Dr. Jairo Villamil Diaz, Ms. April Chang, 

Ms. Nilanthi Wijewickrame all from UNIDO, Ambassador Denis Chaibi, 

Mr. Frank Hess, Ms. Harshini Halanagoda of EU, Directors and the twenty industry leader who invested.

Special mention of Professor Jayasiri Lankage for his invaluable advice and guidance. Mr. Aruna Weerakoon for making the initial contact with Ms. Kenza Le Mentec. Former employees, Mr. Albert Silva, Ms. Charuni Dilrukshi, Ms. Maheshi Silva and Mr. Rvindra Jayasekera.

Future  plans.

Building of the male and female hostels and the auditorium. 8 & 10 programs …...…..

Most importantly mechanisation of cinnamon processing.

As the shortage of man power is acute now and the urgent need to boost productivity and reduce the cost of production, mechanisation is an absolute necessity.

We had a proposal with University of Moratuwa and Toyohashi University of Technology (TUT) of Nagoya some years back. ……...

Professor Homma and UOM professors visited the CTA and plantations to see the process and I visited him Japan.

Unfortunately with change of government there was no further progress.

We are very keen to reactivate this proposal with UOM, DEA and newly created CDD. Prof. Kapila Jayasinghe of  UOM was to come.

We look forward to the assistance your excellency, in these two important areas.

Conversion of the CTA to a spice Training Academy as per project proposal developed  by UNIDO. Partial assistance has been pledged by WTO - STDF and we are looking for the balance funding.

????? I will be going to Geneva next month to find a donor with assistance of WTO-STDF and Sri Lanka’s embassy to WTO. 

I request all in the cinnamon industry make use of these training programs provided by CTA.

I have had fullest support of government institutions, the cinnamon industry, the director of CTA and many donor agencies.

This is a dream I always had, to have international class cinnamon training facility and to see value chain actors get NVQ certificates.

I have done my bit and more for cinnamon Industry and would like to take well-earned rest and it is for the next generation of leaders to take these forward.

Once again I welcome you all and I thank you for the patient hearing.

Thank you.
Sarada De Silva.
Chairman of Cinnamon Training Academy