TEA IS OUR PRIDE
Posted on July 30th, 2012

Sarath Wijesinghe  (Ambassador to United Arab emirates)

Tea is our pride, for which we can be proud of for the reason that it is the best tea on the Globe. It is the duty of every Sri Lankan, especially the Diplomatic Missions worldwide to defend and promote our silver inherited as much as the beauty of Sri Lanka which is no match to other. Sri Lanka Tea is unique due to unique flavor, color and character which cannot be readily found elsewhere. The humidity, cool temperature, sunshine, and rainfall (two monsoons) in the country’s central and southern highlands are conducive to the manufacture of unique quality teas. Tea plantations are scenic and pristine. Tea is grown handpicked and processed in an artisanal process, unchanged over a century. Where else in the world one could find this combination in One Island.

Tea is the most consumed drink of the mankind next to water. It is very healthy harmless and a natural drink which is consumed as a social drink which bonds families countries including Sri Lanka (Once Ceylon) which has now lost the position as the main exporter to the world. Tea grown area is limited due to shortage of land, and the cost of production has become unbearable mainly due to the shortage and high wages of labor and maintained. Estate owners do not invest on replanting and new plantations due to excessive expenditure and the length of period for a return, though once the tea is properly grown the benefit will extend to few decades. But in an era citizens are looking for quick and large margins on profits, traditional investors on cultivation are rare. This is a sad and disturbing situation. It is time the local investors and tea estate owners are encouraged for re plantation and/or use tea estates for Tea Tourism for which the environment is ideal due to landscape and beauty in addition to the availability. Tourists, especially those from Middle East are full of praise and love for Tea Estates for beauty, calm environment and greenery coupled with sceneries. It is time the tourist Board and the Tea Board engage in an exploratory expedition on this area to benefit the tourist industry as well as tea industry and both industries in return will be boosted with unexpected publicity for both areas.

It is a sorry affair that people have got used to unhealthy fast food and beverages with strong chemicals and poisonous materials. However the concerns are raised and advice given to discourage unhealthy breweries and encourage healthy and natural drinks, the billions spend on advertisements and attractions have overtaken the campaigners for natural drinks which are healthy, cheap and readily available. Sadly in Sri Lanka coffee with lot of sugar is available in parties and officers increasing diabetic population when tea is freely available in every corner. A young coconut is only 30 rupees where as artificial beverage with lot of sugar and chemicals will cost over 50 rupees, which passes billion of rupees to multinational companies. Ironically average youngster and even an adult will go for the unhealthy artificial beverage in place of a natural young coconut or a healthy cup of tea. India is far above us. They have banned artificial beverages and multinational companies from the Indian soil.

Tea is marketed and popular in Russia. The most important foreign markets for Sri Lankan tea are the former Soviet bloc countries of the CIS, The United Arab Emirates, Russia, Syria, Turkey, Iran, the United Kingdom, Egypt, Libya, and Japan. The political situation in some countries has a direct effect on Ceylon Tea and it is time for us to look for alternatives until the situation in the Middle East settles. Arab world and West considers Tea as a healthy smooth traditional social drink. The consumption patterns has changed due to fast life by adopting quicker methods such as tea bags instead of traditional pot of tea, or naturally made tea traditionally for quiet and smooth enjoyment. Still tea is synonymous with Ceylon with the brand and the trade mark for pure original and quality tea. Awareness and demand for Ceylon Tea among consumers in the Gulf Market is high. Loose tea consumption has dominated over consumption of tea bags. Consumers are gradually weaned away from loose quality tea due to aggressive media campaigns and fast life of consumers. Multinational brands increase their market share through heavy media/promotional spend and sophisticated packaging, despite using infer ere “multi origin teas” The brand becomes more significant than the origin. This trend is seen in former Ceylon strongholds such as Russia and former Soviet Republics.

It is time we look for new avenues to sell out tea with least effort as it is not difficult to find markets for quality consumer items with a worldwide love and reputation. It is useful to adopt a market strategy to sell our pride and silver to our friends who love the wormath of the people of this beautiful the country. Best is to use UAE which is a country so close to our hearts and minds as a vehicle for our tea which is already a platform in this strategic location and diversified terrains. Positioned in the heart of the old world, UAE is the ideal access point to the three continents as a vital transit point between the East and the West. Dubai is the business hub in the Middle East and UAE is the shining jewel on trade and tourism with 7.9 million visitors in 2010, and the world’s largest shopping mall- the Dubai Mall. With the world’s tallest building, one of the top destination cities in the world, world’s largest man made harbor and world’s largest manmade Island this is the best and most friendly and accessible destination to promote our tea and use it as a platform to all other destinations including the west. Dubai is a business HUB for tea trade as well. Our pride is devaluated and the trade mark is exploited by our competitors in tea trade. An aggressive and consorted effort is urgently needed to countr dilution and promotes our pride and silver.

To meet this demand the Sri Lankan Embassy in the UAE has initiated a dialogue/discussion with the Sri Lankan (TEA) business community in UAE and Sri Lanka with the participation of the Chairperson of the Tea Board and all interested parties in UAE, on 26th September 2012 to find ways and means of promoting Sri Lankan Tea in order to maintain the “Brand and the Quality“ which is maintained for centuries. Those who wish to take part at the seminar/workshop may communicate with Sri Lankan Embassy in UAE on 0097126316444/0097126315252/0552503888/0557396689/0553054991 or email [email protected] Web Sri lankaembassyuae.com

7 Responses to “TEA IS OUR PRIDE”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Tea is slavery, colonial, biggest polluter and responsible for bringing illegal immigrants to SL.

    We have to replace tea with worthwhile crop. Tea consumption in UK, Europe, USA, etc. is falling fast. Coffee is the preferred choice. We are stuck with COLONIAL stuff still.

  2. Sunil Vijayapala Says:

    Half a million acres of virgin rain forest in hill country lost to to tea and still our fools appreciate what the bastardly British swine did to our country introducing the Tea plant, a native of China to kill the industry there. Imagine the valuable timber ended up in England with the absolute plunder and rape of our country. In fact the railway was initiated to transport valuable timber. Thanks to one wise Englishman, who advised the then Governor to refrain from eliminating the forest cover above a certain elevation. If not for this man we would have lost everything including Sinharaja and all the hills would transform into meadows with time.

  3. Dham Says:

    Agreed with both comments above.
    Replace tea with Polpalaa.

  4. Lorenzo Says:

    EXACTLY!

    Tea is the CURSE of SL.

    1. All major rivers start from the upcountry where the forest cover is ESSENTIAL for their survival!!!
    2. Tea plantations totally ruined it.
    3. Tea plantations attracted MILLIONS of Tamil illegal immigrants who are SL Tamils today. The MAIN problem of the country.
    4. Due to tea plantation, paddy, vegetable, grain, fruit cultivation was prevented. Don;t forget this is the WET ZONE!!
    5. Who makes REAL money in tea? SL? SL people? NO!!
    Thondaman’s voters and multinational companies.
    6. What use of destroying paddy and planting tea instead?
    7. Pollution that came with Tamils into upcountry is unbelievable. This is a curse.
    8. Tea Thonda manipulates all governments.
    9. Tea is a PRIMARY export. Only UNDERDEVELOPED and DAMNED countries export these.
    10. Now westerners are moving AWAY from tea!! Fantastic! We are still stuck with the CURSE of tea unable to escape from the tea curse.
    11. Did our great ancestors drink tea to get energised? NO.
    12. MOST tea growers are loss making!!
    13. Colonial mindset GOES WITH the tea curse. The BEST colonial remote control of SL is tea and the “T”s that came with it.

    Export all the “T”s and replace “T” with Sinhela paddy.

  5. Lorenzo Says:

    If some disease wipes out most tea bushes, SL will be MUCH better off. Forex earned by tea by destroying the country is ANYWAY wasted by politicians. So no gain anyway and no loss anyway.

    I raise my cuppa to the end of “T” in SL. Unemployed “T” plucking “T”s will go back to “T” Nadu with a token “T” bag.

    LTTE Diaspora had a MAJOR advertising campaign against SL made garments but not so much against tea?

    Why?

    They know tea is the curse of SL.

    Jaffna Tamils are intelligent. They got rid of USELESS tobacco early and started cultivating paddy, cabbage, onions, etc. Jaffna elders say during a great famine in Jaffna in 1870s, people had at least some food to eat because they had by then started to grow crops they could eat!! Had they stuck with bloody tobacco, they would have eaten it and died!!

  6. Lorenzo Says:

    It is a great misfortune that our main exports are housemaids, T and pan-T!!!

    If our ancestors come alive, they will kill us over this.

  7. aloy Says:

    The foreign exchange we earn from tea is not even sufficient to pay salaries and maintain the system. Perhaps they are being maintaned with some of tax payers money. This workforce now owes the rest of the country unlike one poular song of yesteryear used to imply.

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