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Sri Lanka's Small Tea Growers Account for 77% of Total Production, Says Minister

As the tea industry evolves, both Sri Lanka and India are actively seeking innovative strategies to navigate the changing landscape and ensure a prosperous future for tea growers and consumers alike.

Shivam Dwivedi
Sri Lanka's Small Tea Growers Account for 77% of Total Production, Says Minister (Photo Source: Pixabay)
Sri Lanka's Small Tea Growers Account for 77% of Total Production, Says Minister (Photo Source: Pixabay)

Sri Lankan Minister Ramesh Pathirana emphasized the significant contribution of small tea growers (STGs) to the country's total tea production during a BIMSTEC event on tea organized by the Indian Chamber of Commerce. Pathirana highlighted the government's efforts to provide subsidies to STGs and its commitment to adopting technology to enhance productivity in the tea industry.

According to Pathirana, STGs account for approximately 77 percent of Sri Lanka's total tea production. In recognition of their importance, the government has implemented subsidies to support activities such as replantation, technology adoption, and the implementation of best agricultural practices among small tea growers. These measures aim to protect existing markets and encourage value addition within the industry.

The majority of Sri Lanka's tea production is exported to various countries, with Russia, Turkey, and Iran being key destinations, as stated by the minister. Last year, Sri Lanka produced 250 million kg of tea, and this figure is expected to rise to 280 million kg by the end of this year. However, Pathirana acknowledged that the shrinking global market for tea poses a significant challenge to the industry.

Speaking at the event, Atul Asthana, Managing Director of Goodricke Tea, shed light on the stagnant per capita consumption of tea in India, where STGs contribute approximately 55 percent of the country's total production of approximately 1,350 million kg. Asthana called for increased support from the Tea Board to launch a comprehensive promotional campaign aimed at boosting internal consumption.

Responding to Asthana's concerns, an official from the Tea Board attributed the lack of a generic promotional campaign to a shortage of funds. However, she mentioned that the Tea Board is actively pursuing digital and social media promotion strategies, specifically targeting the youth demographic.

Sri Lanka's focus on supporting small tea growers through subsidies and technology adoption reflects its commitment to strengthening the tea industry. By protecting existing markets and exploring new opportunities, the country aims to overcome challenges posed by the shrinking global market.

Additionally, the call for a comprehensive promotional campaign in India highlights the importance of stimulating domestic consumption to sustain the tea industry's growth.

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