Too many factories in a tea cup?

Wednesday, 11 November 2015 00:40 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


  • SL crop 340 m kilos but has 714 factories 
  • Kenya crop 400 m kilos but only 115 factories
  • Govt. urged not to issue permits for new factories


Are far too many factories a bigger problem that has led to the aggravation of the crisis in the tea industry?

This question did take come up when tea industry stakeholders met recently. It was observed that availability of large number of tea manufacturing factories in the country more than the required level is a main factor for manufacture of low quality tea in Sri Lanka. 

With an annual tea production of around 340 million kg, the country has 714 factories whereas Kenya has approximately 115 factories for production of around 400 million kg of tea. In Sri Lanka, the installed factory capacity far exceeds the available green leaf.  Apart from the historical reasons the ad hoc policies of the Government are the reason for the large number of tea factories far in excess of the requirement. Due to this the factories compete for the limited availability and absorb low quality green leaf resulting in poor quality in the final product. 

Three Associations – Tea Exporters Association, Planters Association and Private Tea Factory Owners are urging the Government not to issue any new permits for establishment of tea manufacturing factories at least for the next three years and also SLTB to control the expansion of capacities of existing factories.