Radawadunna is a very famous area for the cane industry in Sri Lanka. The area has a long history of cane industry dating back several centuries. Anyone traveling on the Colombo-Kandy road can see and buy a wide variety of cane items from both sides of the road.
The cane industry, which was the livelihood of many families in the area decades ago, is now limited to a few families. What was special about those people who engage with this industry was that they were middle-aged and slightly older. However, from the conversations we had with them, we came to know about the current situation in the industry and the critical procedures that the designers in the industry have to face.According to them, the main problems are the shortage of raw materials, the lack of innovations related to canes and the lack of young and experienced designers in the industry.
In Sri Lanka, raw materials for the cane industry are procured from Ampara, Moneragala and Polonnaruwa. Due to the inability to obtain the required length of rattan raw materials, under the existing legal framework, and because of the raw material is not hardened to a constant thickness, the quality of the final products in modern art designs, is somewhat reduced. Hence designers today are tempted to use imported materials. They also told us that the raw materials obtained from Sri Lanka are high in strength and the raw materials imported are more attractive in appearance. They further stated that there is a high demand in the market for products made from imported raw materials which are more attractive.
Beds, chairs and ornaments made out of cane can be used for more than 25 years, and the use of natural raw materials is said to be healthier and these can be mentioned as the benefits of using cane products.
The designers also told us that canes are widely used for architectural and interior designing projects and they are confident to create any complex architectural shapes with cane materials.
So we think it is the responsibility of all of us to revive the cane industry, which is one of Sri Lanka’s oldest endangered industry today. We conclude this article with an invitation to add a new look to your home with these long lasting eco-friendly wicker products.
Below is a discussion we had about the cane industry in Radawadunna