‘Global Ceylon Tea Campaign’ will be launched in Russia – Navin

The ‘Global Ceylon Tea Campaign’, which was delayed for three years, will be launched in Russia in September this year, followed by 12 other countries, at a cost of USD 50 million, Minister of Plantation Industries Navin Dissanayake said.

Speaking to journalists at the Sri Lanka Tea Board Auditorium, yesterday (18), Dissanayake said he had fought hard to obtain funds for the project and that the delay in the project was due to various conflicting ideologies.

“We are also expecting to start a project called ‘O60’ in the near future,” he added.

The mixing of non-essential ingredients in the manufacture of tea has become one of the hot topics in the world today, he said, as it reduces the quality of tea.

Condemning the move, the Minister urged tea factory owners not to engage in this practice. Those who continue to mix ingredients will not go unpardoned, he warned.

“All factories have been informed about the percentage of sugar that should be in tea, and samples of tea are now being tested,” said Dissanayake.

The Minister further said that Sri Lanka is ready for a tea exchange with Iran in return for the USD 240 million worth of fuel which had not yet been paid to Iran.

“We had a lengthy discussion with the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), and they agreed to pay the price of fuel owed to Iran with tea, which would be a huge benefit to our country,” he said.

Some plantation companies have not fulfilled their responsibilities, Dissanayake went on to say. However, estate companies cannot be taken over by the government as it would be a huge burden to the government, he added.

The Minister stressed the need for plantation companies to exercise their social obligations more systematically and efficiently and emphasized that estate companies should pay more attention to the health and infrastructure of plantation workers.

Generally, the price of a kilo of raw tea leaves in the market in June and July is lower and the price increases again in August.