Minister of Plantation Industries Mahinda Samarasinghe has assured that the government will not take any decision detrimental to the tea industry.
Responding to concerns by tea growers over a proposal by exporters to import tea, the Minister said they are studying the international market situation to take further steps to improve the industry for the betterment of all stakeholder including tea smallholders.
He reiterated that no decision has been taken on the liberalization of tea imports and the setting up of a tea hub in Sri Lanka.
He made these comments during a meeting this week with officials of the Sri Lanka Federation of Tea Smallholdings Development Societies. Its President Neville Ratnayake told the Business Times they are constantly monitoring the situation to protect the livelihood of tea smallholders, against this threat.
The Planters Association also criticized the proposal made by the Tea Exporters Association (TEA) saying it would ruin the tea industry. The TEA says Sri Lanka should move with the times and allow imports which would increase revenues, and denies that such a move would affect the industry.