Sri Lanka Tea Board allocates Rs. 450 million for fresh development initiatives
The Sri Lanka Tea Board (SLTB) has reportedly allocated Rs. 450 million for several fresh development initiatives with the hope for a gradual shift towards enhancing the yield and quality of Ceylon Tea by encouraging additional 50 million new plants by next year.
To support these initiatives SLTB has introduced an array of new financial schemes, including grants to planters and estate owners, to encourage re-planting and new plantings as well as shading management programmes, the Daily FT has reported.
“Sri Lanka’s tea production has dropped significantly over the past few years from 340 million kilograms per annum to 300 million kilograms at present. Thereby, the SLTB with State assistance has introduced these new funding schemes to enhance efforts to improve the production, while upgrading leaf quality of Ceylon teas,” SLTB Tea Commissioner E.A.J.K. Edirisinghe has told the Daily FT.
In 2019, Ceylon Tea Traders Association (CTTA) had launched the ‘Ceylon Tea Road Map 2030’, which aimed to enhance annual tea production to 350 million kilograms, whilst doubling the export earnings to US$ 3 billion by 2030.
He has noted that the new funding schemes were introduced in addition to the existing subsidies from which the industry already benefits.
Edirisinghe has further said that the initiative titled ‘Re-awakening Tea 2021-2025 Tea Revival Half Decade’ encourages tea smallholders to replant new and replace dead plants in this five-year programm, where the Tea Small Holdings Development Authority will offer grants of Rs. 500,000 per hectare for tea replanting, Rs. 310,000 per hectare for new planting and Rs. 100,000 per dead plant to be replanted anew in the tea land.
He has observed that smallholders and their production systems played a significant role in the future of Sri Lanka’s tea industry. Smallholdings at present accounts for over 75% of the total made tea production, which is a strong helping hand to the national economy.
In addition, a funding scheme for high shade trees for medium-scale and large-scale tea estate category of over 10 acres is being rolled out where Tea Board will provide Rs. 100 per high shade tree established in the field for a maximum of 28 plants per acre, the news report further stated.
“Unfavourable weather conditions have resulted in a decrease in tea production. During the period from January to March, most of our tea crops fall due to the severe drought. However, to mitigate such loss of crop, it is essential for the estate owners to implement simple irrigation systems to eliminate such climate-related risks and allow tea plants to receive the correct amount of water and nutrients,” Edirisinghe had added.
Sri Lankan authorities are looking at uplifting and developing the country’s tea industry. The country’s tea industry is focused on introducing new technologies to be on par with the growing developments in the global tea industry. Sri Lankan grown Ceylon Tea is once again picking up in the global tea market. Therefore foreign businesses/investors could explore the business potential in Sri Lanka’s tea industry.
|Article Code :||VBS/AT/17122020/Z_3|