Enhancing prestige of Lanka tea-SLTB

By Lalin FERNANDOPULLE

Sri Lanka is certain of achieving US$ 20 billion export revenue by 2020 and surpassing US$ 2.5 billion in tea exports by 2015, said Industry and Commerce Minister Rishard Bathiudeen at the launch of the Ozone Friendly Ceylon Tea logo by the Sri Lanka Tea Board (SLTB) on Wednesday.

He said the new accredition which is a huge achievement for Ceylon Tea will be registered in 30 countries and added that the new logo would enhance the prestige of Sri Lanka tea as the best beverage in the world.

The Ozone Friendly Ceylon Tea logo along with the agro-climatic regional names is expected to boost tea exports which is aimed at US$ 2.5 billion in the next five years.

Protection of the registration under Geographical Indicators for a product in the home country is a pre-requisite prior to applying for international registration. The SLTB has completed the local registration of the name Ceylon Tea and the main seven tea growing regions – Kandy, Uda Pussellawa, Dimbula, Uva, Ruhuna, Nuwara Eliya and
Sabaragamuwa.

The SLTB will apply for international registration for the Geographical Indicators in 20 markets this year and 20 markets in 2012.

Methyl Bromide which is an aggressive ozone depletion substance was used in Sri Lanka extensively in pest management in agriculture, warehousing and quarantine in pre-shipment purposes.

Under the Montreal Protocol Sri Lanka implemented two projects to phase out Methyl Bromide usage for non quarantine and pre-shipment purposes.

The project on the tea sector was completed in 2006.

The new development levy for development and marketing of Ceylon Tea came into effect on November 1, 2010 and is expected to hit Rs. 1 billion a year. The fund collected Rs. 650 million by April 30 this year.

The Minister of Plantation Industries will present the paper to the Cabinet for approval to utilise the fund.

A special Tea Advisory Committee comprising eminent tea industry personnel has been set up to advise the Minister and spearhead a vibrant campaign to promote tea.

The Ministry of Industry and Commerce has allocated Rs. 8.5 million for the registration of the logo and the Agro-climatic regional names this year and another Rs. 8.5 million for registration next year.

Minister of Plantation Industries Mahinda Samarasinghe said the Tea Promotion Fund which will be driven by the private sector will help enhance the image of Ceylon Tea and the export income which is expected to reach US$ 2.5 billion by 2015.

“The completion of the registration of the Ozone friendly Ceylon Tea logo will help prevent counterfeit and misuse of the word ‘Ceylon Tea’ and other regional names of tea growing areas”, he said.

Director Promotion, SLTB, Hasitha De Alwis said the Board firmly believes that the special accredition will enhance the value of Ceylon Tea and other speciality teas produced in the seven agro climatic tea
growing regions in the country.

“SLTB is confident that Sri Lanka could capitalise on the new feature of Ceylon Tea to further strengthen and consolidate the position of Ceylon Tea in the global market”, De Alwis said.

Today tea covers 222,000 hectares in highlands and other areas of the
country.

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