Beetle in Lankan tea shipment to Russia Exporter to be spared says Pethiyagoda
Posted on December 17th, 2017

BY RAVI LADDUWAHETTY Courtesy Ceylon Today

The Sri Lanka Tea Board will not take any punitive action against the exporter involved in a shipment of tea to Russia that contained a beetle which led to a temporary ban on imports to that country, a topmost official said yesterday.

The Russian Federation has clamped a total ban starting from tomorrow on the import of Sri Lankan tea and other agriculture products following the discovery.

“We will not take any action against the exporter as the beetle was not found in the tea consignment but, instead within the container outside the tea packages, “Sri Lanka Tea Board Chairman Dr. Rohan Pethiyagoda told Ceylon Today yesterday.

He was responding to questions from Ceylon Today on whether the future operations of the exporter is to be outlawed since the incident had brought disrepute to the export trading sector and the country.

Pethiyagoda also explained that these containers travel around the world and that it could have happened to any exporter. It has been confirmed that the beetle was not inside the tea packets and therefore no charges could be brought against the exporter, Dr. Pethiyagoda further said.

He also said that it will take at least another week before the Government could make an appointment with the Russians.

“We are seeking to meet with the Russian Agriculture Minister Aleksandr Tkacev Gaffe and Plantation Industries Minister Navin Dissanayake will be tasked to head the delegation at the talks”, he added.

The delegation will also include officials from the Tea Research Institute and the Agriculture Ministry.

He also added that the private sector component was not relevant at the talks.

He was also very appreciative on the efforts made by Sri Lanka’s envoy to Russia Dr. Saman Weerasinghe, whom he said was doing yeoman service and task in seeking appointments with Russian officials especially with the Agriculture Minister.

“It will take around a week to get the appointments since there are a string of Russian holidays at present,” he said.

Minister Navin Dissanayake could not be reached for comment.

3 Responses to “Beetle in Lankan tea shipment to Russia Exporter to be spared says Pethiyagoda”

  1. NeelaMahaYoda Says:

    Dr. Pethiyagoda must have been paid handsomely by the exporter to protect him from the responsibilities of providing clean and disinfected containers for transporting food related goods.

    Dr. Pethiyagoda,what sort of PhD you have?

    Do you know that you can’t get away with putting a silly argument that the food items can easily be cross contaminated in the container?

    And it is your responsibility of prevent such happenings.

    It can be even poisonous chemicals that have been in contact with the container previously. Under such situation they can even charge you for man slaughter.

  2. Dilrook Says:


    This may be due to Russia retaliating to Sirisena’s asbestos ban. In fact, Russia warned of consequences unless Sri Lanka reconsidered the ban (asbestos in construction to be phased out gradually by 2020). Asbestos is fourth largest Russian export to Sri Lanka. If this is the case, the solution (if any) is elsewhere. We shouldn’t lift the ban on asbestos. It is a known cancer agent. Russia held a number of ‘safe use of asbestos’ seminars in Sri Lanka recently.

    The purchase of a Russian warship may be an attempt to cushion the impact.

    Though Russia is a friendly country, our relationship has been poisoned by India. During the war, we avoided as much as we could buying Russian weapons from Russia and turned to Ukraine, Czeck Republic, Slovenia and India. The $300 million Russian credit line for weapons was mostly unused by 2009.

  3. Lionel Says:

    Usually, the empty containers should be inspected before loading by an authorised agency like Quarantine Service of the exporting country and certify they are free from insect pests. I don’t think any of the relevant authorities in Sri Lanka offer that service. This is an eye opener for them.

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