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Crash program necessary to uplift standards :

Govt mulls 88 percent tea production from smallholders

The Government plans to get tea smallholders to contribute 88 percent of the total national tea production. It is necessary to commence a crash program to uplift the standards of cultivation among tea smallholders, said Plantation Industries Minister, D.M. Jayaratne.

“Seventy-four percent of the national tea production last year was produced by the tea smallholders and we hope to increase it by 14 percent by the end of the year.

The national tea production last year was 318.46 million kgs and of the total production the tea smallholders produced 235.7 million kgs,” he said

President, Tea Smallholders Development Authority, Noel Kariyawasam said, “During the first quarter of 2009, the tea smallholders produced 125 million kgs. The subsidy under the program for one acre of tea cultivated by smallholders will be Rs. 190,000 - 200,000.”

“The up-country tea smallholders production during the first quarter of 2009 increased over 30 percent, although the mid-country tea production dropped. At present there is a great demand for tea and we are in the process of educating the cultivators at village level”, he said.

Chairman, Tea Smallholders Association, Nevil Ratnayake said, “At present the average yield per acre is 400 and we hope to increase it up to 600 this year.

We are in the process of replanting the trees and that would help increase production.

The fertilizer subsidy given to cultivators is important since it adds quality to the production”.

**********

At a glance

*125 m kgs production in 1 Q

*Subsidy for tea cultivators

*Over 30 percent increase in up-country tea production

 

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