Tea exports from Sri Lanka have exceeded the US $ One billion target for the past three consecutive years. Sri Lanka is the only tea producing country to surpass the US dollar One billion mark in tea exports.
The Government is supportive of the tea industry and has provided Rs. 4.5 billion for the fertilizer subsidy. It is important to re-plant where it is necessary for increased production, Sri Lanka Tea Board Chairman Lalith Hettiarachchi told Daily News Business.
The future of the industry he said depends on the quality of the re-planting process and concerted efforts are needed to upgrade tea production.
It is necessary to address the high cost of production as Sri Lanka records the highest cost of production, the Chairman said.
Vietnam, an up-coming producer, incurs less than one third of our production cost. Sixty percent of our cost of production is accounted for the labour cost. The country also records low per head count productivity - 15 to 20 kgs as against India s 35 kgs and Kenya s 40 kgs. It is essential to address this issue, Hettiarachchi said.
We need to encourage increased tea consumption to maintain stable amount of foreign exchange and export volume. Our tea has a good demand in the world market and 96 percent of production is exported.
It is important to focus on value addition.
Sri Lanka is the largest exporter of pre-packed tea under brand names among the producing countries.
The country earns more revenue from tea exports than other countries.