Sri Lanka Plans to Broaden Tea Industry Strategy.
By: Staff Writer
January 06, Colombo (LNW): The government is to device tea industry strategy for 2024 with an integrated approach to achieve common industry objectives, refocusing the entire tea value chain
Sri Lanka is currently reviewing the entire length of the country’s tea value chain seeking to restore profitability with environmental sustainability, according to Sri Lanka Tea Board officials.
Tea Board will look at tea as a beverage in the global market, worth US $38 billion as compared with narrow perception of the tea industry as a perennial crop, generating only $1.45billion per year
Tea export volume dipped below 2022 levels, reaching around 242 million kilos in 2023, whilst earnings increased to around $ 1.3 billion during the same period.
As per the available data, January-November 2023 cumulative exports totalled 221.16 million kilos, showing a decrease of 9.73 million kilos vis-à-vis 230.89 million kilos in the same period in 2022.
The SLTB was optimistic that the tea output will exceed 260 million kilos by the end of 2023 recovering from the 26-year low in 2022.
A high official of SLTB has attributed the decline in output to adverse weather conditions from September to December 2023, emphasizing that most of the production came from Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) rather than traditional smallholders due to high operational costs.
Sri Lanka is to focus on strategic market campaigns on tea-consuming nations rather than focusing on global campaigns till production and productivity are achieved.
Expressing concern about the lack of technological integration in the tea industry, a senior tea board official called upon top players with financial backing to explore alternative ways, including AI and drone technologies to enhance crop yields.
SLTB plans to make use of the powerful Tea Control Act to enhance production and productivity in regional plantation corporations ( RPCs) _.
“Sri Lanka has a diverse tea production suitable for different water types to enhance taste and nutritional properties. These can be marketed according to various market segments to generate higher income from tea exports,” he said.
He stressed the responsibility of exporters to convince growers to prioritize producing high-quality Ceylon Tea.
China has emerged as Sri Lanka’s fastest-growing “new market” with interest in traditional Orthodox black tea and high-end packaging common amongst the increasing number of Chinese tourists visiting Sri Lanka,”.
SriLanka now supplies 29% of the 35 million kilograms that China imports, according to official data.
Due to U.S. sanctions that restrict trade in dollars, Iran turned to Sri Lanka and India to quench its thirst for tea. Iraq now ranks first among Sri Lanka’s tea trading partners, which include Turkey, Russia, China, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia.