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Tea industry to reach $ 5 b mark by 2020

The year ahead will not be easy for the country’s tea industry as sanctions in Iran, unrest in the Middle East and the Euro crisis will have adverse effects. The way forward will be to find new markets.

However, it is difficult to enhance production as there are issues in increasing volumes, Tea Exporters Association outgoing Chairman Niraj de Mel said. “We have contacts with troubled economies and need to re-think the strategies to generate foreign exchange,” he said at the 13th annual general meeting of the Tea Exporters Association held in Colombo last week.
“Over 60 percent of the tea is exported in value added form and there is an increased demand for tea bags.
The depreciation of rupee did not give the exporters the desires results. It is a positive sign to see markets in Egypt and Pakistan opening. There are concerns for tea industry development. Over 70 percent of the tea industry comprised of workers and it is important to take welfare measures for them. The tea drinking patterns are changing and demand for tea in tetra packs and ready to drink is on the rise. The consumers are looking for convenience and we need to cater to this market,” he said.
The tea industry needs to have a cohesive plan supported by vision and strategies from the bush to the market. Cabinet approval is awaited for the Ceylon Tea Promotion campaign. There will be A Rs 2 billion fund to promote the industry to made Ceylon Tea the preferred beverage in the world. Sustainability should be endured in this growth oriented industry, he said. Middle East plays a pivotal role in tea exports of Sri Lanka as 55 percent of national tea exports go to the Middle East.
Due to the political instability in the Middle East, Sri Lanka tea exports have been affected. Tea production from newer tea growing nations has also increased the competitiveness of the global market.
However, with new developments taking place in the consumer patterns of the world beverage market, there is ample opportunity for Sri Lanka to make in the world arena as one of the strongest players, de Mel said.
Tea Exporters Association (TEA) comprises of almost all the tea exporters in Sri Lanka where 75 percent are members at present. TEA is one of the youngest stake holder associations of the 146 year old tea industry of Sri Lanka which was incorporated in 1994.
(Source: Daily News)

Tea Exporters Association (TEA)