© 2023 Dr Margaret Sheppard

Occupations Food Production Market Small Business Building Other Occupations


Sri Lanka has long been renowned for the production of spices. Historically sailors reported that they knew when they were nearing the island’s shores as they could smell the spices on the sea breezes ! (This was important for their navigation due to the dangerous rocky reefs and currents that surround much of the island.)

Cinnamon is one of many of the important and valuable spices produced. It is “processed” from the bark of the cinnamon trees. This small scale “production unit” is located in Katuwana Area in the North of Hambantota District

Preparing the cinnamon sticks for sale

Cinnamon sticks are then bagged up and sold to wholesale merchants who sell them on to shops or market stall holders, or it is sold in smaller quantities to individual customers. Cinnamon is also a valuable export via foreign spice merchants. Foreign buyers often further process the sticks by grinding them into cinnamon powder, commonly sold in Western shops.

Black Pepper, rubber, tea, jack fruits are also grown with the cinnamon trees in this area.

Cinnamon trees growing amongst rubber and other Jungle trees. These trees surround the small hamlet where the cinnamon sticks are prepared for sale.

First the bark must be stripped off. These processors all live locally and this employment supplements their other day labouring occupations.

Stripping off the bark