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Lanka's foreign exchange earnings from tea export at lowest - official

COLOMBO: Despite Sri Lanka being one of the leading tea exporting countries, its foreign exchange earnings out of tea export remains at the lowest ebb in comparison with other tea exporting countries, Industrial Development Ministry acting Secretary R.V.D.Piyatilleke said.

"The main reason for this is Sri Lankan tea exporters' inadequacy to add value to the tea we export while other countries export value added tea which are flavoured to suit the consumer taste," Piyatilleke said.

He said the Rs. 81,481 million foreign exchange Sri Lanka earned by exporting 308,859 metric tons of tea in 2005 could have been much enhanced if the companies took the trouble to export flavoured tea in bag form instead of exporting tea in whole sale scale.

The Industrial Development Ministry has launched a new programme to increase foreign exchange earnings by exporting tea under State sponsorship in liason with the Tea Board, Tea Exporters' Agents and the Chamber of Commerce on President Mahinda Rajapaksa's instructions, the Acting Secretary said.

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