COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Sri Lanka’s tea exporters are unhappy over a five billion rupee fund raised from a cess on exports and meant for overseas promotion that large remains unused, an official said.
Anselm Perera, chairman of the Colombo Tea Traders Association, said the funds were urgently needed to be spent to promote Ceylon tea especially at a time prices had slumped and the industry was going through difficult times.
Problems in key markets like Russia and the Middle East had reduced demand for Sri Lankan tea, he told the CTTA’s 121st Annual General Meeting.
The tea trade should make its own efforts to promote Ceylon tea, Perera said.
“The cess fund on exports collected since 2010 now amounts to five billion rupees but largely remains idle.”
The tea trade was disappointed over the unusually long time taken to activate the global Ceylon tea promotion drive promised by the government and was “making exporters restive,” Perera said.
The funds had been used so far only to promote Ceylon tea using the Sri Lanka Cricket team and in the Dubai Airport advertising board.
Perera said the trade was hopeful of getting the promised matching one-to-one grants for promotions using the cess fund.