Tea Association to spearhead new strategies
The tea industry was on Thursday challenged to take stock of changing trends and to develop a strategic plan as it embarks on a promotional drive amounting to Rs.2 billion. Sri Lanka Tea Exporters Association (SLTEA) outgoing Chairman Niraj De Mel addressing the SLTEA’s 13th AGM in Colombo said with consumer tea drinking habits changing it was imperative to improve on how to market tea that has today become a ready-to-drink product.
In this regard, he pointed out there needs to be strategic thinking to plan out the future of Ceylon Tea. He noted that the much awaited tea promotion would be carried out marketing Ceylon Tea as the preferred beverage investing a sum of Rs.2 billion The SLTEA is expected to open up its own secretariat as it parts company from the National Chamber of Exporters due to the latter’s increased workload. President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga who was chief guest on the occasion said the government was open to discussions with the industry at any time noting they would be accorded priority since they were an important sector in the economy.
The sector was appraised of a meeting in the near future with the President for a pre-budget discussion. Mr. Weeratunga called on the SLTEA to assist the government through their advice as part of promoting good governance practices. He believed that there was a possibility of the economy’s survival through increased exports.
Commenting on the bureaucracy, Mr. Weeratunga pointed out this as a requirement that would be tightened to avoid any wrongdoings but which would be relaxed once the new online systems were established. New chairman of SLTEA Rohan Fernando in his acceptance speech said they expected the government to take the industry into confidence. The association felt encouraged that they would be invited for the meeting prior to the budget to discuss issues pertaining to the sector. SLTEA comprises of almost all tea exporters in the country and the membership accounts for over 75% of Sri Lanka’s tea exports.
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