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Tea Industry Set to Achieve US$ 1.5 Billion in Exports Amidst Revival Efforts

July 10, Colombo (LNW): The Sri Lanka Tea Research Institute has projected an income of US$ 1.5 billion from tea exports this year. Over the past two years, the country’s tea industry has earned between US$ 1 to 1.2 billion in foreign exchange.

Agriculture and Plantation Industries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera conducted a review meeting on the progress of St. Coombs Tea Factory and the Sri Lanka Tea Research Institute in Talawakelle last Sunday (7).

The ban on chemical fertilizers in 2021 negatively impacted tea cultivation, reducing fertilizer application in 2022 and 2023, which led to a decrease in yield. However, this year, two government-owned fertilizer companies have begun providing fertilizer at concessional prices. These companies now offer three types of tea fertilizers, valued at around Rs. 14,000 in the market, at prices ranging from Rs. 5,500 to Rs. 7,500 per 50 kg bundle, with Rs. 1,200 million allocated by the Sri Lanka Tea Board for this subsidy.

The fertilizer application is being implemented in three stages. In the first phase, 30,000 metric tons of tea fertilizer are to be distributed, with 10,000 metric tons already distributed. Officials indicated that with the application of fertilizer and the planting of saplings in vacant areas, a significant increase in tea yield is expected next year.

This year, the income from tea exports has reached US$ 1.5 billion, with Sri Lankan tea being exported to 150 countries, and 20 of them purchasing in large quantities. Minister Amaraweera emphasized that the current land under tea cultivation is sufficient and no new land will be allocated for tea cultivation. Instead, the focus will be on increasing value-added tea products by applying fertilizers, planting saplings, introducing high-density cultivation systems, and enhancing tea-related products.

The Talawakele Tea Research Institute has introduced 70 new tea varieties, which are in high demand internationally. The progress review meeting was attended by officials from the Tea Research Institute, Agrarian Development Commissioner General A. M. H. L. Abeyratne, and others.

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