Tea export earnings nearing US $ 1.5 b
The total export earnings from tea will be close to US $ 1.5 billion
this year. This was US $ 1.2 billion last year. This is a significant
jump to achieve the US $ 5 billion target set by the Export Development
Board (EDB) by 2020.
Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe
Plantation Industries Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said Sri Lankan
Tea reaches 130 countries today.
"Tea is the Sri Lankan main agricultural export commodity and
accounts for around 15 percent of the total export earning of the
country. It is the second large foreign exchange earner of the country,"
he said speaking at the 11th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Tea
Exporters Association (TEA) held in Colombo, last week.
The Minister said the Sri Lankan tea industry also contributes to
maintain the socio-economic fabric of the country with more than a
million people benefiting directly or indirectly from the industry for
their livelihood and sustenance. TEA Chairman Jayantha Keragala said a
prolonged drought in the first half of 2009 followed by trade union
agitation and suspension of harvesting for a period, in the second half
of that year, saw crops decline significantly and production falling by
almost 10 percent to below 300 million kilograms for the first time in
nearly a decade.
While this had a marked impact on export volumes, a severe shortage
of supply drove up prices at the Colombo Tea auction to the highest ever
Notwithstanding the declines recorded in volumes, we have been rather
fortunate in maintaining the foreign exchange revenue from tea exporters
and, in turn, producers were able to enjoy good returns, especially the
smallholders and the factory owners," he said.