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Popularly known as ‘Queen of Spices’ as opposed to Black Pepper hailed as ‘King of Spice’, Cardamom, sometimes spelt as cardamom or cardamum, is a spice made from the seeds of several plants in the genera Elettaria and Amomum in the family Zingiberaceae. Both genera are native to the Indian subcontinent and Indonesia. The cardamom plant is a perennial herbaceous plant with a pseudostem and thick irregular shaped rhizomes. Dried fruit or cardamom pod is traded as a spice.

Cardamom pods are spindle-shaped and have a triangular cross-section. The pods contain a number of seeds, which are small and black, while the pods differ in colour and size by species. Cardamom is generally available in the form of whole fruit as a primary product, in-ground form as secondary processed products and also in the form of extractions of oil and oleoresin as value-added products. Cardamom lands are generally termed as spice forests. Sri Lankan Cardamom suppliers export light green cardamom variety (Elettaria cardamomom), which is one of the most expensive spices by weight.

Due to the unique flavor of green cardamom cultivated in Sri Lanka, formed by the country’s unique terroir, green cardamom produced in Sri Lanka is known as Ceylon Cardamom.

The country serves about 0.1% of the global demand for cardamom which amounts to 4000 to 5000t per annum. India, Australia, Canada and Estonia are the main buyers of Ceylon Cardamom, which is available in two grades; namely LG Lanka Green Cardamom (LG) and Lanka Light Green Cardamom (LLG).

In Sri Lanka, cardamom is mainly cultivated in the districts of Kandy, Matale, Kegalle, Nuwara Eliya, Ratnapura and a part of Galle. Three types of Cardamom are found in Sri Lanka and they’re categorized based on the shape of the inflorescence.

Consumption of cardamom has drastically gone up throughout the world during the last two decades. Cardamom is mainly consumed in the Middle Eastern countries, India, Pakistan, European countries, the USA, and Japan. In fact, Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and South-East Asian countries such as India, account for over 60% of the global consumption.

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