Main Products and Industries
Sri Lanka, the third largest tea producing country in the world, shares 10% of the international tea production. Sri Lanka is one of the world's leading exporters with a share of around 23% of the global demand in 201621. Ceylon tea ranks the best among the world tea. The brand “Ceylon Tea” is one of the main foreign exchange earners of the country. In 2015, tea export accounts for 12.8% of total export of the country22. Quality, aroma and a variety of flavors in Ceylon tea have captured demand of tea drinkers in the world.Russian Federation is the main importerof Ceylon Tea followed by Iran, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, and Japan.
Most of tea factories maintain quality of their production by obtaining ISO 22000, and HACCP standards. The government looks for specialized investments to improve productivity and level of technology innovation.
Gems and Jewellery Industry
Sri Lanka is known for quality gemstones and creating fine jewelry in a range of unique and exquisite designs. With this reputation, the Sri Lankan gem and jewelry industry is now moving towards a world-class gem and jewelry hub. Sri Lanka’s mineral rich soil has been yielding a seemingly never ending supply of high quality precious and semi-precious gem stones such as sapphires, star sapphire, rubies, star rubies, alexandrite, Cat’s eyes, garnets, zircons, tourmalines and spinels. In January 2016, the largest claimed blue star sapphire was certified in Colombo, Sri Lanka, with the weight of 1,404.49 carats and the estimated price of $100 million.
The gem industry in Sri Lanka is of great antiquity.The entire industry employs approximately 600,000 workers including miners, cutters and polishers, dealers, jewelry designers, manufacturers and craftsmen, marketers and salesmen. Sri Lanka is blessed with over 70 varieties of coloured stones out of 200 found in the world, and is among the five most important gem-bearing nations of the world.
Sri Lanka’s apparel export industry is the most significant and dynamic contributor toSri Lanka’s economy. Theapparel industry has enjoyed epic growth levels over the past four decades and is today Sri Lanka’s primary foreign exchange earner, which accounts for 46% of the total export and 45.9% of industrial products export as of 201523. This industry, entirely privately owned, has successfully exploited the opportunities in the international market.
Apparel categories include sportswear, lingerie, loungewear, bridal wear, work wear, swimwear, and children’s wear. The US and the United Kingdom have historically been the largest buyers of Sri Lankan apparel throughout the decades. The long term relationships with reputable multinational retailers, who have identified standards of manufacture and compliance, have led to the growth of the industry.
The Sri Lankan apparel industry produces high quality garments, and is uniquely capable of servicing leading international brand names such as Victoria’s Secret, Gap, Liz Claiborne, Next, Jones New York, Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Pink, Triumph, Ann Taylor, Speedo, Abercrombie & Fitch, Land’s End, and Marks & Spencer, etc.
Sri Lanka is also famous for the handloom textile industry which is a highly labour intensive and rural-based industry in Sri Lanka. The industry produces predominantly cotton and silk products. Generally, with low capital costs and running expenses, handloom is a household or cottage industry, which creates value-added textile products.
Food & Beverage Industry
Food and beverage industry is one of the fast growing sectors in the Sri Lankan economy, and has the potential to grow further in the short and medium term.
The product range of this sector consists of processed vegetables, fruits &juices, confectionary &bakery products, rice &cereals, beverages and animal fodder.
There are more than 5,000 establishments in the food and other beverage industry. Sri Lankan food and beverage exported products acquire international standards such as ISO 9000, ISO 22000, HACCP, Halal, Kosher, and Organic, etc.24
The US, Germany, the Netherlands, the Maldives and Australia are the main markets for processed vegetables, fruits and juices. Export opportunities have been identified for the Sri Lankan confectionery and bakery products in countries such as India, Ghana, the Maldives, UAE, the US and UK.25
Rubber Products Industry
Sri Lanka pioneered rubber industry in Asia in 1876 when rubber trees were planted in Henarathgoda Botanical Gardens –Gampaha26. The country ranks among the world's top ten largest producers and the 7th largest exporter of natural rubber27. Sri Lankan rubber industry consists of two independent sectors: the rubber plantation industry which produces raw rubber, and high value-added innovative products. Sri Lanka produces about 153,000 metric tons of natural rubber annually.28