Tuesday, 7 October 2014 00:03
After a successful career spanning almost four decades, Sri Lanka’s global spice champ, in a surprise announcement, outlined his retirement plan on 3 October.
“As a result of your committed services to Sri Lanka’s spice sector, today Pure Ceylon Cinnamon is a global brand. We wish you great retirement filled with happiness,” said Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen on 3 September in Colombo.
Bathiudeen was addressing the 11th Annual General Meeting of The Spice Council (TSC) at the Taj Samudra. Also present on the occasion were Minister of Minor Export Crop Promotion Reginald Cooray, The Spice Council Chairman Nanda Kohona and top members of Sri Lanka’s spice industry.
The founder Chairman of the Spice Council of Sri Lanka, Sarada De Silva joined the family business of B. Darsin De Silva & Sons in 1974, a four generations long cinnamon business. He has unrivalled experience in the Industry, covering cultivation, plantation management, production, value addition and international marketing and has travelled extensively in the main global Ceylon cinnamon markets - the North, Central, South American countries and Europe.
De Silva was an Executive Committee Member of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce from (2000-2003 and 20132014) as well as Executive Committee Member of the National Agri Business Council (2000-2006 and 2013-2014). Along with Ceylon Cinnamon Association and Spice Council, Sarada was also instrumental in reviving the livelihood of all tsunami-affected cinnamon peelers and producers by getting the USAID Revive Project to distribute plants and fertiliser and cinnamon peeling tool kits to affected peelers.
He had the foresight and was instrumental in highlighting the need for good agricultural practices, good manufacturing practices, ISO standards and HACCP in the cinnamon industry. He was also instrumental in setting up the first model of good agricultural practices, good manufacturing practices, ISO standard and HACCP.
He is also a Member of Management Committee National Chamber of Exporters (NCE), first Vice Chairman National Chamber of Exporters (NCE), Chairman of the Sri Lanka Cinnamon Association from 1999, Chairman of the Competitiveness Initiative Spice Cluster, Life member of the Sri Lanka Institute of Directors, and the former and current Managing Partner and director of several other companies.
“On a very personal note, I have been involved in the spice sector in general and in cinnamon industry in particular, for the last 40 years,” said a satisfied De Silva, addressing the 11th Spice Council AGM. “I have retired from most of the positions I have held and am retiring from the rest as well. I am retiring from all day-to-day activities and executive duties. I am happy and proud to see the developments that have taken place in the spice sector in the last four decades. Very much more needs to be done. There were times that spice industry members contacted me directly on various issues without even contacting the relevant Government authorities. I believe that I have earned my well-deserved rest.”
In 2013, Sri Lanka’s minor export crop production has returned after a decline in 2012 with production of cinnamon, pepper, cloves, cocoa, etc., recording a growth. Spices became the biggest item in Sri Lanka’s overall, six-item basket of ‘export crops’ claiming 45% of $ 315 m export crops basket of 2013.
On 5 October, De Silva, in his personal communiqué to Minister Bathiudeen’s office, wrote: “I wish to remain simple and without much publicity. I have informed Minister Bathiudeen that, as usual, I shall continue to extend my support whenever Minister Bathiudeen requires it.”