“I’m Saman. I work in this cinnamon plantation in Meetiyagoda.
The cinnamon industry has been thriving in Sri Lanka since the olden times. Most of the people who live in Meetiyagoda work in this industry, as the village is famous for its number one quality of cinnamon.
The first thing to do when growing cinnamon is to plant the seeds in nurseries.
Two or three weeks later, a small shoot will come out from the seed. Once the shoot is about 4 inches tall we plant them in the earth, giving each shoot enough space to grow. After a month we put manure down and weed the shoots. This procedure has to be repeated frequently to allow the plants to grow strong and healthy.
After a year and a half, when the plants have fully matured, we cut some of the branches and send them to our factory for the bark. Normally, mature plants are trimmed twice a year.
In the factory we first scrape the bark off completely with a very sharp knife and then let it out in the sun to dry.
Once the bark has dried, we take small pieces of it and splice them together, one by one, until we get a long stick. These cinnamon sticks will be sent to the market to be sold.
We also make cinnamon oil using the leaves of the plant. We let them air-dry and tightly pack them into a wooden cask covered with aluminum on the inside, sealing it so no air can get in.
In a big container, we boil water and let the steam through a pipe that is connected to the wooden cask. This way the steam will cool off before reaching the cask.
The cinnamon oil will come down from the cask, drop by drop. It will have an intense while color so we have to purify it until it becomes a nice golden color.
The cinnamon oil is used to make herbal medicine, especially to cure toothache, earache, and the common cold. The oil is also used to produce essences and perfumes. In the olden times, Sri Lankan people used to apply a few drops of oil to the temple area and the neck to warm up the body during the cold months.
We produce bark in small pieces and also powder.
The top quality cinnamon is sent to the foreign market while the rest is sold at the local market“.