Sri Lankan tea producers and exporters should pay special attention towards the brand name ‘Ceylon Tea,’ considering that branding gives value and takes Sri Lanka tea to the world market, Hayleys Leisure Holdings Managing Director, Rohan Karr told the 20th AGM of the Tea Exporters Association, which was held in Colombo.The event was held under the theme ‘Challenging Times for Ceylon Tea.’ Ambassador for Japan in Sri Lanka Akira Sugiyama was the Chief Guest.

Making the key note address Karr said that Ceylon Tea is famous in the world, due to the name ‘Ceylon’ as the brand name and it should be protected.“But unlike in the past, local tea exports are showing a dip in the recent past, comparing to few other countries such as China, India and Kenya, that are showing a significant increase in their tea production and exports.Karr told the audience that local tea exports have consistently come down by around 10% during the last five years.
“But, statistics also reveal that tea exports of Kenya and India too have shown a significant 10% decline during the same period,” he said.Karr also said that local tea production is gradually reducing and requested the authorities concerned to take immediate measures to rectify the situation.He said that most local tea producers pay more attention towards quantity and not quality of the tea.

“To produce quality tea, producers should have two leaves and a bud, but currently we use four leaves and a bud and produce a larger quantity, compromising quality.”He said if we continue with this pattern, Indonesia most probably would also catch up in the world tea market.

Carr paid special attention towards Kenyan tea which is progressing well and added that before long, Kenya would take over market leader position in the global tea exports sector. “Even Sri Lankan tea planters visit Kenya and advise Kenyan growers to correct their mistakes and develop the Kenyan tea industry.”Carr said that the Ceylon Tea Association is now making a `Road Map to uplift the local tea industry and said that this is very timely, as it would help turn around the local tea industry.
“Even the neighboring Indian tea Board is having a `Road Map,’ while mentioning a 12 point agenda to develop its tea industry,” he added.MD Karr finally requested authorities even at this juncture, to take the responsibility to do a `U’ turn to uplift our tea industry without considering self interest, but tea as a priority interest.