Women-owned and Led Micro, Small Medium Enterprises in Spice and Coir Sectors of Sri Lanka: Constraints and Policy Options

Research team

Sunimalee Madurawala
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Dilani Hirimuthugodage
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Janaka Wijayasiri
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Dharshani Premaratne


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Published Year

September 2017


Women owned/led Micro Small Medium Enterprises (WMSMEs) are known to be an important source of employment and poverty reduction. In Sri Lanka, spices and coir based industries are amongst the few sectors in the economy that have high female participation. Women are mostly engaged in activities in the lower end or up-stream parts of the value chains of both the sectors. Household responsibilities, lack of mobility and lack of enthusiasm were found to be the main reasons for women to concentrate in lower levels of the value chains. Most of the activities at the lower levels of value chains can be done as home-based businesses. This gives women the opportunity of staying at home and the flexibility to attend household chores. Moving up the value chain requires greater mobility and interaction with other value chain actors. However, most women are reluctant to do so as it impedes their ability to attend to their household responsibilities. Other challenges faced by WMSMEs include access to finance, information, and networking, lack of training and technology, and legal restrictions. Given the importance of participation of women in SMEs and the export sector to the economy, the role of government is critical in developing and promoting the sectors where women entrepreneurship is concerned.

Read Blogs:

Easy and Affordable Access to Finance: A Lifeline for Female-centric MSMEs in Sri Lanka

Networking and Information: Crucial Ingredients in Empowering Women Owned and Led Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in Sri Lanka

Removing Barriers to Trade to Promote Women’s Participation in Spice and Coir Value Chains in Sri Lanka

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