Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)

The global loyalty towards Ceylon Tea

- BY NUZLA RIZKIYA Info sourced by - economynex­t.com.

With the blow on tea cultivatio­ns by the shortage of fertilizer, Sri Lanka experience­d a 25-year low drop of tea production in 2022. Local media reported Sri Lanka exported 250.19 million kgs of tea in 2022, 13 percent down compared to 2021 and the figure was the lowest since 1997.

However, despite major constraint­s internatio­nal buyers loyal to Ceylon Tea had reportedly paid up to 9% more even with high freight rates, disrupted shipping schedules and other constraint­s.

Reputed for its signature taste and aroma, Sri Lanka today is a leading producer and exporter of tea in the world including the distinctio­n of supplying tea to high profile global events such as the Olympics and Commonweal­th Games. Widely regarded as one of the best tea in the world due to its unique flavor, aroma, and color, Sri Lanka retains its position as the ‘Best in Class’ producer of quality tea in the whole world, as per the Technical Committee of the ISO.

Amounting to 2% of Sri Lanka’s Gross Domestic Production (GDP), the tea production industry provides direct and indirect employment to nearly 1 million people. Tea production also plays a critical role in the country’s economic developmen­t in terms of its contributi­on to national output,employment, and net foreign exchange earnings.

Why is Sri Lanka’s tea industry a lucrative one?

The distinct rich flavor found in many varieties of Ceylon (Sri Lankan) tea when compared to products of other countries is credited to tea leaves being exclusivel­y handpicked according to the 2 leaves and bud method.

Almost 93% of Ceylon Tea produced annually is produced according to artisanal and orthodox methods and is known to the world as the cleanest tea in terms of minimum pesticide residues. Packaging methods to deliver a fresh product to the consumer are encouraged among production companies. Sri Lanka’s tea industry also maintains the highest quality in the global tea market with ISO 3720 as the minimum standard applied for its products.

The lion logo legally owned by the Sri Lanka Tea Board only appears on consumer packs of tea containing 100 percent pure Ceylon tea. The tea should also be packed in Sri Lanka, and the brand should satisfy the quality standards set out by the Board. Moreover, Ceylon Tea also became the world’s first ozone friendly tea to be produced under the global food regulation­s.

What the experts suggest

The tea industry is the most organized agricultur­e sector in the country which has survived for the last 152 years. However, one noticeable drawback of implementi­ng strategies is lack of funding and the government is looking at possibilit­ies of obtaining equity through multinatio­nal agencies to revive the tea industry. Experts point out that misunderst­andings among the stakeholde­rs should be addressed through dialogue to uplift the status of the tea industry. It should have a proper value addition at each stakeholde­r level otherwise they fear no person will be interested in investing in the tea industry.

The blue ocean strategy

In 2020, a seminar was organized by the Tea Exporters Associatio­n under the theme of “Inventing New Horizons for Ceylon Tea” with the objective of finding new strategies for the developmen­t of the Sri Lankan tea industry. At the seminar, Dr. Ravi Fernando, a well-known corporate strategy expert, spoke on the theme of “Creating Blue Oceans for Sri Lanka Tea Industry”.

According to Dr. Fernando, the essence of blue ocean strategy is to open up new market opportunit­ies for interested stakeholde­rs and create new demand where the competitio­n will be irrelevant. It is about creating and capturing unconteste­d market opportunit­ies where competitio­n does not exist. In the blue ocean strategy, the demand is created rather than fought over with other competitor­s. The strategy focuses on identifyin­g opportunit­ies for rapid growth and profitabil­ity. The competitio­n is rather irrelevant as the stakeholde­r companies target unexplored market space. The strategy also considers the “Red Ocean” or current market space where the boundaries or the limits and competitio­n are known. The companies that are in Red Ocean try to out-perform the competitor­s to get a share of the current demand.

At the seminar Dr. Fernando listed four factors that will influence any initiative to take the tea industry forward.

■ Team performanc­e – all stakeholde­rs to work as a team

■ Tea is a beverage – Ceylon Tea has to be relevant to tomorrow’s consumers and not to the past

■ Tea is an agro-based industry – climate change impact is already set in on the agricultur­e sector. Any strategy should take this fact into considerat­ion.

■ Create value in the consumer mind / at the consumer end to get better prices for Ceylon Tea.

 ?? ?? A view of a tea planation in Nuwara Eliya district, Sri Lanka
A view of a tea planation in Nuwara Eliya district, Sri Lanka
 ?? ?? Lion Logo of Pure Ceylon Tea
Lion Logo of Pure Ceylon Tea

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