Tea Board to host 20th session of FAO’s Inter-Governmental Group on Tea

Tuesday, 24 January 2012 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Sri Lanka Tea Board, the apex authority of the tea industry in Sri Lanka, will be hosting the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) 20th Session of the Inter-Governmental Group (IGG) on tea from 30 January to 1 February 2012 in Colombo.

At the 19th session held in May 2010 in New Delhi, Sri Lanka took the opportunity of bidding to host the 20th session in 2012 along with Indonesia and Malawi. Through a consensus members unanimously offered Sri Lanka the opportunity, giving the country further recognition in the global tea industry.

The event creates added significance since 2012 celebrates 145 years after commencement of the tea industry in the country on a commercial scale.

“We are proud to be hosting the 20th FAO/IGG session. It is a very prestigious event and this will definitely bring international mileage to Sri Lanka and the heritage of Ceylon tea. Further, this is the first international event for the tea industry in the country after the dawn of peace and therefore it is a great opportunity for us to showcase our products and our country as a whole. Today, there is political uncertainty in some of our key markets and added to this is the global financial crisis which will affect any industry whose main focus is export. Being the host of the foremost technical sessions on the tea industry at this crucial time gives the Sri Lankan experts an ideal opportunity to share our knowledge as well as learn from other leading tea industries in the world,” said Janaki Kuruppu, Chairperson of the Sri Lanka Tea Board.

Delegates from over 25 countries will participate in this year’s FAO/IGG sessions. Some of the countries include India, China, Kenya, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Africa, Argentina representing tea producing countries whilst USA, Canada, UK, Pakistan, Russia and UAE will be representing their nation as tea consuming or importing countries.

The focus of the FAO/IGG sessions which are held biannually is to discuss and resolve issues related to production, marketing, pricing and consumption of tea faced by the international tea industry in a single platform and discuss the way forward for the next 10 years.

Speaking of the sessions Promotions Director of the Sri Lanka Tea Board Hasitha De Alwis said: “It is a very crucial time that we are holding the FAO IGG 20th session in Colombo, a period where the industry is facing many challenges. Sri Lanka is a high cost, high quality producer therefore we are changing our strategy from production based model to a more market based model this will allow us to create more visibility on our strategies.”

The UN FAO/ IGG on Tea, which was established in 1969, is a forum where important policies and strategies related to the global tea industry are formulated. Its Membership is open to all the members/associate members of UN who are interested in tea production, consumption and trading.