December 2, 2023

Sri Lanka Expo

Exports of Goods & Services in Sri Lanka

Top Export Items from Sri Lanka: The Country’s Treasure Guide

export items from sri lanka

Sri Lanka’s economy is greatly boosted by its exports to various countries across the globe. The country has built a reputation for producing high-quality products, which have contributed significantly to the global market. Sri Lanka’s export items range from tea to textile, gemstones, and agricultural products and have helped the country become a significant player in international trade.

Key Takeaways:

  • Sri Lanka’s diverse range of export items contributes significantly to the country’s economy.
  • The country has gained a reputation for producing high-quality products that are in demand globally.
  • Tea, textiles, gemstones, and agricultural products are some of the top export items from Sri Lanka.
  • Exporting goods from Sri Lanka is a crucial part of the country’s trade and economy.
  • The Sri Lanka export market is diverse and thriving, with a range of products finding buyers worldwide.

Sri Lanka’s Rich Tea Export Industry

Sri Lanka has established a strong reputation for its tea exports, which have contributed significantly to the country’s economy. The tea industry in Sri Lanka dates back to the 19th century, when British colonialists introduced tea cultivation to the country. Today, Sri Lanka is one of the world’s largest tea exporters, with its tea gardens stretching across the central highlands.

The History of Sri Lankan Tea

Tea production in Sri Lanka began in 1867, when James Taylor, a British planter, introduced tea cultivation to the country’s central highlands. The industry flourished, and by the turn of the century, tea had replaced coffee as the island’s primary export. Sri Lanka’s tea industry continued to grow, fueled by the country’s ideal climate and thriving agricultural sector.

The Process of Producing Sri Lankan Tea

Tea cultivation in Sri Lanka takes place in the country’s high-altitude central hill country, which provides excellent growing conditions and unique terroir. After harvesting, the tea leaves undergo a meticulous process of withering, rolling, and drying, which imparts the distinct flavor and aroma that Sri Lankan tea is known for.

The Impact of the Sri Lankan Tea Industry

The tea export industry plays a significant role in Sri Lanka’s economy, contributing to the country’s foreign earnings and providing livelihoods to thousands of workers. The industry has also driven the development of Sri Lanka’s rural areas, supporting local communities and infrastructure.

The Sri Lankan government has played an active role in supporting the tea industry, with initiatives to promote sustainable tea cultivation practices, improve worker welfare, and maintain high-quality standards. Sri Lanka is also a regular participant in international tea expos, such as the World Tea Expo and the China International Tea Expo, showcasing the country’s high-quality teas to a global audience.

The Future of Sri Lanka’s Tea Industry

Sri Lanka’s tea industry faces challenges such as climate change, rising labor costs, and competition from other tea-growing regions. However, the country is actively taking steps to address these challenges, with a focus on innovation, sustainability, and value-added products.

With Sri Lankan tea being renowned for its unique flavor and aroma, the industry is poised for continued growth and success in the global market.

Dazzling Gemstones: Sri Lanka’s Precious Exports

Sri Lanka’s gemstone industry is a significant contributor to the country’s economy and export market. The country has a rich history of producing high-quality precious stones, including sapphires, rubies, and topaz. Sri Lanka is also famous for its production of cat’s eye and alexandrite.

The gemstone industry in Sri Lanka is highly organized, with mining and cutting processes that are carefully regulated to ensure ethical practices and sustainability. This attention to detail is reflected in the quality of the gems produced. Sri Lankan sapphires are particularly sought after for their deep blue color, while Sri Lankan rubies are known for their vibrant color and clarity.

Mining and Cutting Processes

The mining of gems in Sri Lanka is typically done by hand, using traditional methods that have been passed down through generations. This labor-intensive process involves digging deep into the earth to extract the gems, which are then sorted, graded, and cut into the desired shape.

The cutting of gemstones is a highly skilled process, requiring precision and expertise. Sri Lankan gem cutters are renowned for their ability to bring out the best in each gem, highlighting its natural qualities and beauty. The cut gems are then polished to a high shine, ready for export to international markets.

Sri Lanka’s Gemstone Exports

Sri Lanka’s gemstone exports are a significant part of the country’s export industry. In 2020, Sri Lanka exported $310 million worth of gems and jewelry, making it one of the top ten exporters of gems in the world.

Top Gemstone Exports from Sri Lanka (2020) Value (USD)
Sapphires 180 million
Rubies 30 million
Precious Stones (excluding sapphires and rubies) 45 million
Jewelry and Related Articles 55 million

Sri Lanka’s gemstone exports are primarily to markets in the United States, Europe, and Asia. The country has established trade partnerships with major buyers in these regions, cementing its position as a top producer of high-quality gemstones.


Sri Lanka’s gemstone industry is a prime example of the country’s ability to produce and export high-quality products to global markets. The country’s focus on ethical practices and sustainability in the mining and cutting processes ensures that its gemstones are not only beautiful but also responsible choices for consumers.

Flourishing Apparel and Textile Exports

Sri Lanka’s apparel and textile industry is one of the country’s largest export sectors, contributing significantly to the Sri Lanka export market and the economy as a whole. The clothing and textile sector accounts for approximately 40% of total exports, with an annual export value of $5 billion.

Manufacturing Processes

Sri Lankan apparel and textile manufacturers are known for their high-quality standards and ethical practices. The industry is committed to sustainable and eco-friendly production processes, ensuring that Sri Lanka’s textile exports are not only fashionable but also environmentally responsible. The sector also adheres to international labor standards, ensuring fair wages, safe working conditions, and no child labor.

Export Destinations and Partnerships

Sri Lanka’s apparel and textile exports are in high demand in prominent global markets such as the United States, the European Union, and the United Kingdom. The country’s key export partners include the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Germany, among others. Sri Lanka’s textile industry has also established partnerships with leading international brands, supplying high-quality textiles and finished clothing items.

Industry Outlook

The apparel and textile industry is expected to continue its strong performance in the coming years, driven by increasing exports and investments in research and development. The industry is also expanding its product range beyond traditional textiles and garments, exploring innovative fabric technologies and value-added products such as sportswear, lingerie, and swimwear. Sri Lanka’s export industry in this sector is set to grow even further, providing a promising future for the country’s economy.

Bountiful Agricultural Exports

Sri Lanka’s tropical climate and fertile soils make it an ideal location for agricultural production, which has contributed significantly to the country’s export industry. The agricultural sector employs a large percentage of the population, and its exports include a wide range of products, from spices to fruits and vegetables.

Spice Exports

Sri Lanka is famous for its spice exports, which include cinnamon, pepper, and cloves. The country has a long history of spice production, dating back to ancient times. Sri Lankan spices are renowned for their unique flavor and aroma, making them highly sought after in international markets.

Spice Export Value (USD)
Cinnamon 144.4 million
Pepper 77.3 million
Cloves 6.9 million

According to the Sri Lanka Export Development Board, the total value of spice exports from Sri Lanka in 2020 was USD 200 million.

Fruit and Vegetable Exports

Sri Lanka’s tropical climate and abundant rainfall provide ideal growing conditions for a variety of fruits and vegetables. The country’s agricultural exports include mangoes, pineapples, bananas, papayas, and jackfruit, as well as okra, eggplant, and green beans, among others.

Fruit/Vegetable Export Value (USD)
Pineapples 13.9 million
Mangoes 8.8 million
Bananas 8.6 million

The total value of fruit and vegetable exports from Sri Lanka in 2020 was USD 233 million, according to the Sri Lanka Export Development Board. Sri Lanka’s proximity to major markets in Asia and the Middle East, along with its reputation for high-quality produce, make it a favorable destination for international buyers.

Sustainable Farming Practices

Sri Lanka’s agricultural exports are produced using sustainable farming practices that prioritize environmental conservation and social responsibility. The country’s agriculture is primarily based on small-scale farming, with many farmers utilizing organic and natural methods to grow their crops. Sri Lanka has also implemented various initiatives to support sustainable agriculture, including the National Organic Program, which promotes the use of organic farming methods and provides training and support for farmers.

The sustainable farming practices employed by Sri Lankan farmers have contributed to the country’s reputation for high-quality, eco-friendly agricultural products. This reputation has helped to drive demand for Sri Lankan exports in international markets, supporting the growth of the country’s export industry.

Sri Lanka’s Other Noteworthy Exports

While tea, gemstones, apparel, and agriculture dominate Sri Lanka’s export industry, the country also produces and exports other unique products. These exports have made a significant contribution to the country’s economy and trade partnerships. Let’s take a look at these noteworthy Sri Lankan exports.

1. Rubber

Sri Lanka has a long history of producing high-quality natural rubber. The country’s rubber industry is mainly concentrated in the western and southern regions. The rubber is used to make a variety of products, including tires, footwear, and industrial goods. In 2019, Sri Lanka’s rubber exports were valued at approximately $71 million.

2. Coconut-based Products

Sri Lanka is known for its coconut-based products, including coconut oil, coconut milk, and coconut-based cosmetics. These products are in high demand in international markets due to their quality and sustainable production methods. In 2019, coconut-based product exports generated approximately $520 million in revenue for Sri Lanka.

3. Handicrafts

Sri Lanka’s rich cultural heritage is reflected in its handicraft exports. Traditional handicrafts such as wooden carvings, brassware, and lacework are popular among tourists and collectors. These products are handmade by skilled artisans and are unique to Sri Lanka. In 2019, handicraft exports were valued at approximately $22 million.


While the tea, gemstone, apparel, and agricultural industries are the main drivers of Sri Lanka’s export economy, these other exports also play a significant role. Sri Lanka’s diverse range of exports highlights the country’s unique offerings and expertise across a range of industries. As the global demand for sustainable and high-quality products continues to grow, Sri Lanka’s export industry is well-positioned to continue its success.


What are the top export items from Sri Lanka?

The top export items from Sri Lanka include tea, gemstones, apparel and textiles, agricultural products, rubber, coconut-based products, and handicrafts.

How do these export items contribute to Sri Lanka’s economy?

These export items play a vital role in boosting Sri Lanka’s economy by generating revenue, creating employment opportunities, and fostering international trade relationships.

Why is Sri Lankan tea highly sought after in international markets?

Sri Lankan tea is known for its exceptional quality, unique flavors, and rich history of tea production. The country’s favorable climate and ideal growing conditions contribute to the superior taste and aroma of Sri Lankan tea.

What types of gemstones does Sri Lanka export?

Sri Lanka exports a variety of gemstones, including sapphires, rubies, and topaz. These gemstones are renowned for their brilliance, clarity, and vibrant colors.

How does the apparel and textile export industry benefit Sri Lanka?

The apparel and textile export industry in Sri Lanka provides employment opportunities for a significant portion of the population and contributes to the country’s economic growth. Sri Lankan garments and textiles are known for their high quality, ethical production practices, and adherence to international standards.

What are some examples of agricultural products exported from Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka exports a wide range of agricultural products, including spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, and pepper, as well as fruits, vegetables, and other organic products. These exports support local farmers and contribute to the agricultural sector’s growth.

Which countries are the main trading partners for Sri Lanka’s exports?

Sri Lanka’s main trading partners for exports include the United States, United Kingdom, India, Germany, and Italy, among others. These countries have a significant demand for Sri Lankan products and contribute to the country’s export revenue.

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