Sri Lanka ramps up efforts to address any issues of tea export shipments
Posted on December 17th, 2017

International news agencies reported recently that Russian agricultural authorities had found an insect, known as the Khapra beetle, in the packaging of one consignment of tea from Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan authorities and the Tea Board have ramped up their attempts to effectively address this concern and ensure the non-occurrence of such incident in the future.

The allegation that this insect was found in one of the export packages received a lot of international attention. However, the report did not specify whether this insect was found alive or whether it was found inside the package or in the lining of the package.

Dr. Rohan Pethiyagoda, the Chairman of Tea Board said that the complaint was open to question because the allegation did not specify if this beetle was found within the tea package or in its lining. He said that the container in which the tea in question was shipped were other products such as rice. So, one can’t say with absolute certainty that this beetle had originated from a tea package.

article_imageHe reiterated that in as far as controls and strict adherence to exports of tea and quality of exportable tea products, stringent measures are constantly maintained. The remote possibility that this ‘incident’ did occur was one in a million. He reiterated, that if there was a complaint the highest priority would be given to rectify it.

He said that Sri Lanka exports more than 23% of its total tea exports to Russia comprising millions of kilos annually. He reiterated that Russia was a major buyer of Ceylon tea and the government and the Cabinet would align themselves with swift corrective measures to continue its credible standing in marketing tea to foreign countries. He further said the Minister of Plantation Industries Naveen Dissanayake would shortly visit Russia to expressively ensure damage control, and re – establish Sri Lanka’s credibility, that we continue to produce Ceylon Tea true to its international standing, and the brand undoubtedly bears its reputed production and shipment standards.

He further said that Russia has not shut out Ceylon tea imports into the country, but has left channels open for further negotiation.

The Tea Board chairman expressed confidence that the controversy would be effectively resolved.

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