Skip to Content

Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2040

The tea tradition in Sri Lanka, one of the best in the world - Mangala Samaraweera

Colombo, 13 July, (Asiantribune.com):

A ceremony to mark the 150th anniversary of the Ceylon Tea Industry was held yesterday at the auditorium of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL).

At this event, which was held under the patronage of Minister of Finance and Mass Media Mangala Samaraweera the Central Bank of Sri Lanka has issued a commemorative coin with a face value of Rs 10 to celebrate the 150 years of Ceylon tea, recognizing its contribution to the national economy.

Indrajit Coomaraswamy, governor of the Central Bank, officially introduced the first set of coins and they will be issued into circulation as of July 13.

Minister of Finance and Mass Media Mangala Samaraweera was the Chief Guest of the ceremony and said that the tea tradition in Sri Lanka, one of the best in the world, comes from the English colonization, and it is recognized for its high level of antioxidants, reduce the risk of developing cancer, and help to prevent oral infections.

He observed that the global consumptions patterns are changing, driven by the demands of millennial, towards more responsible consumption, where Sri Lanka must continue to invest in product purity, environmental safety, and labor standards.

Mangala Samaraweera noted that globally consumers are also moving away from carbonated soft drinks, and artificial beverages towards natural and authentic products. “Tea is strongly identified as being a healthy, natural product, but Sri Lanka must innovate and invest to create tea based products that would appeal to the modern consume,” Minister added.

Given below the key note address made by Mangala Samaraweera, Minister of Finance and Mass Media at the ceremony to mark the 150th Anniversary of the held at the Auditorium of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, on 12 July 2017:

"Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

I am deeply honored to be invited today to speak a few words at this historic moment of commemorating the 150th Anniversary of Ceylon Tea Industry.

The contribution that Ceylon Tea industry has made to the country for over one and a half centuries is multifaceted. Its many manifestations encompass economic benefits, as well as socio-cultural value creations. Above all, its contribution to make Sri Lanka presence felt very strongly in the international arena with the credible “Ceylon Tea” brand is truly ambassadorial.

The timing of this event couldn’t have been any better as we are envisioning a high value export oriented economy in our medium-to long-term development strategy of the country.

Ladies and Gentlemen, as you all are aware, tea export have provided a steady flow of foreign exchange for the country for all this time. Sri Lanka rank amongst the first four largest tea exporting countries, along with China, India and Kenya. As a traditional commodity export, tea tops Sri Lanka’s agriculture sector with a share of over 14 percent of total exports during the last five years on average. The industry provides hundreds of thousands of employment opportunities in the country directly and indirectly, and forms the bedrock of the economy in the plantation regions. The sector has also attracted a lot of valuable investment for the country for many decades.
Our journey thus far has not been without headwinds.

Let me say that our journey would also confront many a challenge, both locally and beyond our shores.

Locally, as the industry participants are very well aware of, we have to deal with limited land areas, adverse weather patterns, increasing cost of labor and production, labor shortages, substandard infrastructure, etc., amongst variety of other issues.

From external view point, we have a highly concentrated international market for our tea exports, where 60% of our tea exports go to Russia and the Middle East.

In this backdrop, it may be difficult to witness upbeat market conditions in Sri Lanka’s main export region in the immediate future due to unfolding geo-political development and low oil prices. Hence, it is time that we may recalibrate our product and market development strategies as a matter of priority.

That said, we also find ourselves in a time of tremendous opportunity. The global economic balance is shifting east and today markets like China present vast untapped opportunity for those who invest in indentifying the appropriate niche to compete in.

Ceylon Tea already seen good inroads into the Chinese market, and this should encourage others to follow suit.

Global consumptions patterns are changing, driven by the demands of millennial, towards more responsible consumption, where Sri Lanka must continue to invest in product purity, environmental safety, and labor standards. Globally consumers are also moving away from carbonated soft drinks, and artificial beverages towards natural and authentic products. Tea is strongly identified as being a healthy, natural product, but Sri Lanka must innovate and invest to create tea based products that would appeal to the modern consumer.

Ladies and Gentlemen, before I conclude let me mention my message for the Ceylon tea industry as it passes through the significant milestone of 150 years of existence. As the industry confronts multiplicity of challenges in the time ahead, we need to capitalize further on our strengths and eliminate or minimize the effects of vulnerabilities.

Our natural strengths include divers agro-climatic conditions, and a planting tradition that have created unique features of flavor, color, and character, giving us a strong brand endowment of Ceylon Tea. We need to capitalize on these advantages by deploying advanced technology, investing in research and innovation, catering to evolving global market trends, in order to optimize value creation of Ceylon Tea. If we do so, there will indeed be a bright future ahead for this crucial industry.

I wish the Ceylon Tea industry all the success in the next 150 years.

Thank you."

- Asian Tribune -

The tea tradition in Sri Lanka, one of the best in the world - Mangala Samaraweera
The tea tradition in Sri Lanka, one of the best in the world - Mangala Samaraweera
The tea tradition in Sri Lanka, one of the best in the world - Mangala Samaraweera
The tea tradition in Sri Lanka, one of the best in the world - Mangala Samaraweera
diconary view
Share this


.