Plantation Minister Navin Dissanayake at the auction. Anslem Perera of CTTA and Anil Cooke of CBA, Tea Board Chairman Rohan Pethiyagoda and Tea Commissioner E.A.J.K Edirisinghe are also present
Minister of Plantation Industries Navin Dissanayake yesterday visited the Colombo Tea Auction, as the world’s largest single origin tea auction saw more activity with global tea prices starting to recover after the recent slump experienced.
Minister Dissanayake, who was accompanied by Sri Lanka Tea Board Chairman Rohan Pethiyagoda and Tea Commissioner E.A.J.K. Edirisinghe, witnessed the activities of the auction for a brief period. Anslem Perera, Chairman of the Colombo Tea Traders Association, and Anil Cooke, Chairman of the Colombo Brokers’ Association, joined the Minister at the auction.
Later on Minister Dissanayake had a brief discussion with the CTTA and CBA representatives, where he discussed the current issues faced by the tea industry and also the emerging trends in the beverage industry.
Former Director General of the Sri Lanka Tea Board, who is now a consultant for the Colombo Tea Traders Association, H.D. Hemaratne and Gillian Nugara, Assistant Secretary General of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, was also present.
This is the first time after assuming office as the Minister in-charge of the plantation industries that Dissanayake visited the Colombo Tea Auction.
The Colombo Tea Auction is the world’s oldest and the largest single origin tea auction and conducted at the CCC premises, subjected to the by-laws of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. The auction takes place, every week selling an average of seven million kilograms of teas.
PM informs P’ment of measures to resolve tea crisis
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has disclosed short-term and long-term initiatives taken by the Government to overcome the crisis in the tea Industry.
Responding to a query raised by UPFA Parliamentarian Dullas Alahapperuma on the falling prices of tea, the Prime Minister told Parliament on Tuesday that the Treasury has given Rs. 1 billion to the Tea Board to provide relief for affected tea smallholders due to the prevailing crisis.
He said the current decline in tea prices is due to the collapse of the market in tea buying countries such as Russia, Iran and Ukraine.
The weakening economy in Russia and economic sanctions on Iran are hitting the tea industry hard, the PM noted. Demand has also been weak from Middle Eastern countries such as Syria, a major consumer of Sri Lankan tea due to the prevailing war situation.
The Prime Minister said new markets for tea would be explored in countries such as India, Pakistan, the United States, Turkey, China and Iran as well as in Europe.
Wickremesinghe said Ministers would be sent to these countries to discuss the matter and a committee would be appointed to propose medium-term programs to resolve the crisis.