ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka plans a ‘Global Ceylon Tea Party’, hosted by its diplomatic missions across the world, from key markets like Japan to new ones in Latin America, to mark 150 years of cultivation in the island next year.
The celebratory events to coincide with the sesquicentennial anniversary, throughout 2017, are being organised by the Sri Lanka Tea Board, in collaboration with the Colombo Tea Traders’ Association (CTTA).
“For over one hundred years, the tea industry sustained the economy of this country and continues to contribute significantly to it,” CTTA chairman Anselm Perera said.
“Though, currently, eclipsed by one or two other revenue earning sources, which have emerged in more recent years, it is still one of the highest foreign exchange earners for the country,” he told a news conference.
Minister of Plantation Industries Navin Dissanayake said Sri Lanka earns US$1.5 billion from tea exports, the fourth highest export earner with the industry one of the largest employers, employing nearly a million people.
The celebrations will commence with the unveiling at the head office of the Sri Lanka Tea Board on 19th January 2017 of a sculptured bust of James Taylor, a Scotsman reputed to have developed the first commercial plantation and commenced manufacture of tea.
A first day cover and a series of stamps will be issued in February 2017, followed by the release of a Rs.10/- coin by the month of August, to commemorate this anniversary.
Over the months of March to July, a series of education fairs will be conducted in all seven tea producing regions.
“This will serve as an outreach to the local community in an endeavour to infuse a better understanding of the relevance and importance of the tea industry to the country and its career opportunities and to create an awareness of the significance of this historic event,” Perera said.
“A ‘Global Ceylon Tea Party’ will be held on May 18, at 5.00 p.m. in each time-zone around the world, serving fine Ceylon teas and a specially created biscuit for the occasion by Maliban Biscuit Manufactories, the oldest biscuit manufacturer in Sri Lanka.”
The publication of a commemorative book, an authentic historical record of ‘The 150 Years of Ceylon Tea’, will be launched on June 14, 2017.
A ‘Grand Charity Tea Auction’ will be held on June 14, 2017, the entire proceeds of which will be invested in charitable projects, benefitting the plantation work force.
During July 2017, an International Tea Festival will be held to promote Ceylon tea and the tea culture among tourists and Sri Lankans, with a focus on street events, featuring tea stalls, food stalls and entertainment, including performances depicting tea related activities.
“It is intended that this will become an annual event in the future,” Perera said.
An International Colombo Tea Convention will be held from August 8 to 11, 2017, with an expected 300 overseas delegates, apart from significant local participation.
Along with the Colombo Tea Convention, other international events will be held in Colombo, which will attract more international participation from both producer and consumer countries.
Immediately preceding the convention, the Inter Session meeting of the Food and Agriculture Organisation Inter-Governmental Group on Tea will be held in Colombo on the 7th and 8th of August 2017.
A ‘Plantation Sri Lanka 2017 Exhibition’ will be held from August 11 to 13, 2017 at Sirimavo Bandaranaike Memorial Exhibition Centre, to enable exporters, manufactures, producers and service providers in the tea industry, both local and international, to showcase their products and services.
An award ceremony to recognize stakeholders in the tea industry, encompassing all sectors in every region, ranging from the Best Tea Plucker, Tea Taster and Tea Blender to the Best Manufacturer and the most Creative Innovator, is also planned.
(COLOMBO, Dec 10, 2016)