Lucrative Chinese market could provide Lanka’s tea industry with options for expansion
China’s insatiable thirst for tea could provide Sri Lanka’s high-quality tea with a lucrative and expanding market but China’s standards and special requirements must be observed.
This was opined by Ambassador of Sri Lanka in China, Dr. Palitha Kohona who attended the Belt and Road International Tea Trading Forum in Hefeng County, Hubei Province, as a guest speaker. “Organic tea, though more expensive, was rapidly catching on in China, especially among the health conscious older consumers, but organics had other requirements to satisfy.”
Addressing the gathering of tea experts (including many academics), senior government and party officials, tea traders and diplomats, Ambassador Kohona, as an invited guest speaker, underlined the continuing significance of the tea industry to Sri Lanka. “This major agricultural commodity provided employment, directly or indirectly, to over 10% of Sri Lanka’s workforce, was a key foreign exchange earner, contributed significantly to government revenues and indirectly assisted the funding of Sri Lanka’s free education and free healthcare systems and was largely dependent on the nimble fingers of the predominantly female work force of tea puckers.”
The modernisation of the tea industry contributed significantly to the success of China’s rural revitalization programme. Similarly, rapid modernization of Sri Lanka’s tea industry, including through digitisation, could introduce dramatic changes to the lives of the workforce, especially to the thousands of women employed in the industry.
“It would also help to retain the young who tended to drift to the cities in search of better employment.”