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Sri Lanka's tea sector forecasts $1.5 bn export revenue in 2024

The Tea Research Institute of Sri Lanka has projected that Sri Lanka's tea exports will generate approximately USD 1.5 billion in revenue in the year 2024. 

This optimistic outlook comes amid ongoing efforts to boost productivity and sustainability in the country's renowned tea industry.

As part of a phased initiative to support tea planters, 10,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer have already been distributed out of a planned 30,000 metric tonnes. This effort is aimed at enhancing yields and ensuring the health of tea estates across the country.

Minister of Agriculture and Plantation Industries Mahinda Amaraweera recently chaired a progress review meeting at the St. Coombs Estate in Talawakelle, alongside officials from the Tea Research Institute of Sri Lanka. During the meeting, Minister Amaraweera highlighted that the existing cultivated lands of tea estates are adequately positioned to foster the industry's growth.

The Minister acknowledged the challenges faced due to the ban on agrochemical imports in 2021, which was intended to promote organic agriculture but impacted fertilizer usage in subsequent years, leading to a decline in tea production. 

In response, the government has intervened through state fertilizer providers to supply fertilizers at subsidized rates, addressing the sector's needs.

Minister Amaraweera detailed that three types of tea fertilizers, each weighing 50 kilograms and valued at Rs. 14,000 in the market, are now available at reduced prices ranging from Rs. 5,500 to Rs. 7,500. The Sri Lanka Tea Board has allocated Rs. 1,200 million towards this concession, which is being implemented in three stages.

Looking ahead, discussions at the meeting also explored plans to distribute fertilizer and plant tea saplings in vacant lands to bolster future harvests. This strategic approach aims to increase tea production in the upcoming year and sustain the industry's global competitiveness.

Over the past two years, Sri Lanka's tea industry has been pivotal in generating foreign reserves, with exports contributing significantly to the national economy. The country exports tea to 150 nations worldwide, with 20 countries notably importing on a large scale.

Moreover, the Tea Research Institute of Sri Lanka has identified 70 tea species in high demand globally, underscoring the potential for further expansion and innovation within the industry.

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