EDB Chairman Bandula Egodage addressing the “Promotion of Value Added Tea Exports” session
A whopping 96 percent of Pure Ceylon Tea production volumes leave Sri Lanka to serve eager global buyers while only 4 percent of it is brewed locally, and the Lankan tea sector is now called to lead the value-addition way.
“Pure Ceylon Tea exports grew by 5.4 percent in 2014. Only 50 percent of tea export revenues came from value-addion while other 50 percent is from raw tea exports,” revealed Export Development Board Chairman Bandula Egodage, addressing “Promotion of Value-Added Tea Exports” session held at EDB yesterday.
The session was attended by more than 100 representatives from 60 leading Lankan tea manufacturing and exporting firms. Among the firms present were Akbar Bros, Akbarali & Sons, Unilever, Empire Teas, Tea Tang, Sinbad, Basilur, Kelani Velley Plantations, and Bogahawatte Tea. The firms that were present at yesterday’s session claim for more than 50 percent of annual Ceylon Tea exports.
“We cannot run just by exporting raw tea and we need to go for value-addition. There is no debate on this. We export 96 percent of Pure Ceylon Tea production which is 325 million Kgs. Pure Ceylon Tea exports grew by 5.4 percent in 2014 under the guidance of Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen,” said Chairman Egodage, and added: “When considering 2014 total export revenues, only 50 percent are from value-added tea exports while other 50 percent is from tea exports in raw form. In terms of tea export volumes, raw exports are higher at 55 percent while value added exports only 45 percent. This is an issue that needs to be addressed. Such half-half split is not bad but it does not give us much since raw and value-added are bringing in similar amounts. Though we can see value addition but it does not give us the “required value addition” levels. This is the third biggest export item of Sri Lanka and therefore as exporters and manufacturers it is your call and EDB is here to help you.”
Approximately 71.1 million Kgs of Ceylon Tea was exported at the end of this March (’15) at a value of US$ 321 million. Ceylon Tea packs has a history of almost 150 years and is Sri Lanka’s largest agricultural export commodity to the global market.
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