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2013, boom year for Ceylon Tea

- Plantation Industries Minister



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Mahinda Samarasinghe


By Steve A. Morrell


Plantation Industries Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said yesterday that 2013 was a boom year for Ceylon Tea, both in respect of production and foreign exchange earnings.


He said tea performed as never before. Production topped 340,338, million kilos and foreign exchange earned was 1, 540,411,814,.97 or in readable terms, 1.540 billion dollars. Earned funds were recorded as the highest ever. Crop performance too was the highest recorded.


He applauded small holders for their contribution to register these enhanced performances and also the Tea Factory Owners Association for their contribution to reach the degree of forex earned.


Additionally, he said, although performance of the Regional Plantation Companies recorded lower levels of achievement, it was of relevance that other contributory factors of ethical management had to be taken into account. The cost factor of labour and other ancillary services, including social development, health services, sanitation, water, housing, child care, maternal health, were all expenditure items which had to be paid for from earned income.


Comparing 2012 and 2013, he said the crop recorded a physical increase of some 11.2 million kilos, or 4 % over 2012.


2013 price realization at the auctions was Rs. 414. 75 per kilo; again the highest ever net sales average achieved. 2012 saw a price average of Rs.392.03.


Such good performances also benefited the tea small holder. The tea small holders earned an average of about Rs. 78. per kilo of green leaf supplied to the factories. In some instances, he said, their earnings topped Rs. 93 per kilo. This price gave them a healthy profit and put them at good income levels.


The level of prices earned was the end result of good practices maintained by the tea factory owners and their adherence to standards. Additionally, the RPCs too, not to be outdone, had contributed to the outstanding performance of the tea industry in 2013.


The future looked good, he said. He was certain 2014 performances in prices will be higher than already achieved.


The minister also said the replanting subsidy was increased to Rs. 350,000, through the intervention of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.


Answering the press on re-planting extents, he said the target of 2 % could not be achieved, although such was the norm when estates were managed by the state. But the small holders will achieve about 1 %. The RPCs would take some time to achieve this figure.


 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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