Sri Lanka eyes to double tea exports to over US $ 3 billion while increasing tea exports to 350 million kilos by 2030.The Colombo Tea Traders’ Association (CTTA) last Friday held a workshop to develop a road map for the Lankan tea industry by setting several targets to be achieved by 2030.
CTTA past Chairman Michael de Soyza revealed that the industry targets to increase its exports to 350 million kilos, earning over US $ 3 billion foreign exchange by 2030.According to him, former Sri Lanka Tea Board chairpersons Rohan Pethiyagoda and Janaki Kuruppu have made presentations during the workshop to provide the necessary initial guidance to the industry.De Soyza emphasised that enhancing the quality of high grown tea to its former days and aggressive marketing and promotions would be crucial to achieve these targets. “Branding and marketing should go hand in hand with production. Irrespective of the assertions and negative comments of the Auditor General, we must spend money on marketing and promotion, as it’s imperative to get a better price for the end product,” he said. He stressed that the government must let the industry take charge of the promotion funds, which are collected from exporters. “We need to control and drive the Ceylon Tea message without leaving it in the hands of bureaucrats to control,” he added.He also emphasised that the government should provide assistance to the RPCs, similar to smallholders, while noting that the RPCs struggle with low productivity and high costs. Further, he commented on the lack of measures taken by Sri Lanka’s plantation sector to become resilient for climate change“As far as I’m concerned, only Elpitiya Plantations has embattled these challenges by investing in sustainable measures such as rain water harvesting and solar power,” he said. De Soyza expects that the road map will result in doubling the real earnings for estate employees and smallholders, over the period. Sri Lanka tea exports declined to US $ 1.43 billion last year, from US $ 1.53 billion in 2017. The government expects tea exports to rebound to US $ 1.5 billion this year.