Harsha calls on tea stakeholders to compromise to revitalise industry

 

 

National Policies and Economic Affairs State Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva

 


  • Insists not all woes can be pinned at the hands of the State or the wider economy, industry must also take responsibility for some of these issues
  • Says the route of extreme caution; of unwillingness to try new things of fearing disruptive business practices, too myopic to see positives of different models of development has doomed industry to face ever-mounting troubles
  • Urges industry to reconsider qualities of facing adversity with ingenuity and experiment with diversification 
  • Outlines need to focus and investment in R&D; says it’s a shame Govt. and private sector hasn’t adequately support research into this important industry
  • Suggests plucking and production process to be modernised, conduct better marketing of the Ceylon Tea brand, to automate Colombo Tea Auction
  • Admits the Governments have let down tea industry with inconsistent, non-scientific policy-making
  • Calls on the Tea Board of Sri Lanka to act as an effective regulatory agent, as the quality of doesn’t get tainted by accusations of corruption and favouritism
  • Affirms Sri Lankan tea is losing markets as the industry has become over-reliant on a few volatile buyers in the Middle East and Russia
  • Highlights insufficient production, poor marketing, focus on wrong products as possible reasons for current troubles

 

By Charumini de Silva 

 

In a fresh attempt to revitalise and take Sri Lankan brew to next great heights, National Policies and Economic Affairs State Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva called on the tea industry to come to a compromise with innovative solutions, diversifications and plug into global supply chain; cautioning that the procrastination will be immensely dangerous to the Ceylon Tea brand and to country’s tea trade as a whole.  

 

Addressing at the 124th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Ceylon Tea Traders Association in Colombo last Friday the State Minister said that for decades the industry has tried the route of extreme caution; of unwillingness to try new things of fearing disruptive business practices, which has failed the country, tea producers, exporters and many people who could be working in a thriving industry instead of one that is treading water. 

 

“I am not here to tell you which model and path to choose; I am here to appeal to you, as an industry; to come to some kind of consensus on how to take Sri Lankan tea to its next great heights. This is not the attitude that gave birth to the Sri Lankan tea industry. The Sri Lankan tea industry and the Ceylon Tea brand are both descended from people who faced adversity with ingenuity, and were not afraid to experiment with diversification. For there to be a future of Sri Lankan tea, all stakeholders in this room will have to exhibit those qualities yet again,” he stressed.
 
 
 While the Government must certainly play its part in taking Sri Lankan industries towards sustainable futures, Dr.de Silva however asserted that the future of our tea industry is something that transcends politics and parties. 
 
The State Minister highlighted three sets of challenges Sri Lanka’s tea industry is faced at present stemming from the Government, from the economy and within the industry. 
 
Pointing out not all woes can be pinned at the hands of the State or the wider economy, he said the industry must also take responsibility for some of these issues. 
 
“What does everyone agree on? The Sri Lankan tea industry is losing ground to competitor countries, and sharply needs revitalisation and rescue. What do they disagree on? How to fix it. What do you need? The capacity to consider the other side’s point of view and reach a level of compromise about how to take the tea industry forward,” he stated. The State Minister said an industry which is at each other’s throats and too myopic and blinkered to see the positives of different models of development, is doomed to face ever-mounting troubles.
 
To face the future and to revitalise the tea industry, he urged the industry to reconsider qualities of facing adversity with ingenuity and experiment with diversification which once saved Sri Lanka’s planters and could do so yet again. 
 
 
 
“We need more focus and investment in research and development (R&D). It is a shame that the Government and the private sector have not adequately supported research into this important industry. Science graduates should be thronging to conduct research in this industry, instead they are sprinting overseas for lack of job opportunities,” he added. 
 
He suggested plucking and production process should be modernised via mechanisation or different harvesting systems such as out-grower systems as well as better marketing of the “Ceylon Tea” brand by using the funds collected through the Tea Promotion Levy.
 
 
In terms of post-production he outlined automating the Colombo Tea Auction. “Years ago, I was involved in a study/proposal for an Integrated Computer System for Automation of Auction Procedures of the Colombo Tea Auction. This could enable each tea offered for sale through the Auction to be monitored from the point of cataloguing until settlement of payment and simplify export documentation, curtail costs, and increase transparency and efficiency throughout the value chain.”
 
He acknowledged that both the present Government and successive governments in a number of ways has let down this important industry with failures of inconsistent and non-scientific policy-making. 
 
Exemplified by the glyphosate ban and its complicated fall out the Minister insisted that the Government must strive to reduce these uncertainties by making decisions based on scientific evidence, research and careful weighing of options, noting that once a good decision is made, barring new evidence, they must stick to those policies. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
“Many in the industry are hesitant to diversify into crops like palm oil because the Government line on whether it supports palm oil is unclear,” he added. 
 
Dr.de Silva also called on the Tea Board of Sri Lanka to act as a more effective regulatory agent to improve the governing environment around tea. 
 
“Last year, 53 factories were investigated and named as adulterating tea with sugar dust. These ongoing investigations must be completed quickly, and fairly. When factories are not abiding by the rules and regulations, those factories must be shut down or suspended, not given leeway because they know the right people and can pull the correct strings. It is crucial that the caretaker of the quality of tea in Sri Lanka does not get tainted by accusations of corruption and favouritism,” he emphasised.
 
In terms of the economy, he said that at home or abroad, the economy in which we produce and sell tea today is drastically different to what it was a couple of decades ago.
 
 
“While at home the tea industry faces factor market limitations such as land and labour as well as environmental threats to our resources; abroad, we combat the rise of competing suppliers that are buoyed by factors like cheaper labour, more land availability, and fewer import restrictions,” he said.
 
Considering domestic and external threats together, the State Minster said it was clear that Sri Lankan tea is losing markets as the industry has become over-reliant on a few volatile buyers in the Middle East and Russia and called it as a the main pitfall plaguing Sri Lankan tea. Referring to statistics from Harvard Center for International Development (CID) Atlas he noted that Sri Lanka previously supplied the majority of their tea, but in 2016 made up only 3.04% of UK’s tea imports, and 2.13% of Pakistan’s, whereas Kenya in 2016 supplied 47.12% of the UK’s tea, and a whopping 60.05% of Pakistan’s. 
 
Dr. de Silva highlighted insufficient production, poor marketing and continuing to focus on the wrong products were the remaining possible reasons for current troubles in tea industry.
 
 
Daily Ft, 02nd July 2018.

Tug of war between stakeholders limits tea industry modifications

National Policies and Economic Affairs State Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva  (second from left) smiles as Colombo Tea Traders Association Chairman Anselm Perera addresses the AGM on Friday. Others from left are Colombo Tea Traders Association Vice Chairman Jayantha Karunaratne, Tea Board Chairman Lucille Wijewardane and Colombo Tea Traders Association Vice Chairman Paani Dias - Pic by Sameera Wijesinghe

 

Harsha expresses confidence that Sri Lanka can integrate into global supply chains while protecting Ceylon Tea brand, tea production industry

Highlights importance of extremely thorough and effective regulatory environment, law enforcement and security measures to enforce rules of separation of Ceylon Tea with cheaper imports

Suggests setting up tea center as a bonded, exclusive warehouse zone

Despite all in the tea industry seeing diversification as a positive, National Policies and Economic Affairs State Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva said the tug of war between the two sides of stakeholders was continuing with them unable to agree on the appropriate means of modification as the “endgames” were not mutually exclusive.

 

“One side of the debate is that diversification should take place under the Ceylon Tea umbrella and the other side says diversification should take place via integration into global supply chains. As they see their motives and paths as completely distinct, the two sides have not been able to get through to each other,” he said while addressing the 124th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Ceylon Tea Traders Association last Friday.

 

He said the endgame of one side was to protect the ‘Ceylon Tea’ brand in order to protect the Sri Lanka tea production industry, while the other side’s endgame is to expand opportunities for the Sri Lanka tea industry and the wider national economy.

 

 

 

“Why have these sides been unable to get through to each other? Because they see their motives and paths as completely distinct. Side one fears that unscrupulous exporters would mix lower quality imports with local tea, slap on the ‘Ceylon Tea’ label and thereby ruin this famous brand name. Side two casually dismisses these fears as those of privileged protectionists — but actually, these ‘endgames’ are not mutually exclusive,” he added. 

 

The State Minister expressed confidence that Sri Lanka could integrate into global supply chains while protecting the Ceylon Tea brand and Sri Lanka’s tea production industry, and suggested setting up a tea center as a bonded, exclusive warehouse zone. 

 

 

 

“Envision it is as an offshore zone. Ceylon Tea could go into the zone, but any tea that comes out of the zone would be ‘Packaged in Sri Lanka’ instead. If this seems impractical, consider banks run FCBO operations completely separately from their domestic operations,” he stated.

 

However, because people may try to cheat and adulterate Ceylon Tea with cheaper imports and still pass it off as Ceylon Tea, Dr. de Silva highlighted the importance of an extremely thorough and effective regulatory environment, law enforcement and security measures to enforce the rules of separation.

 

He also noted that this may even help protect the ‘Ceylon Tea’ brand, as most of Sri Lankan tea was already exported bulk and then ended up in multi-origin blends in those countries, resulting in no way to confirm whether they were selling it as ‘pure’ Ceylon or not.  

 

According to him, Russia allows tea boxed in Russia to be labeled ‘Ceylon Tea’ if it has at least 51% Ceylon Tea. 

 

The State Minister said that if the industry did not come to a consensus and act fast someone else would do it in the same way the Dubai Tea Trading Centre was done. 

He pointed that a 260,000 square foot blending, packaging and trading center built in 2005 handled 10.6 million kilogrammes of tea in 2010. 

 

“This has made Dubai a major tea hub, even with no expertise in tea production. Have we let them steal the rug from under us? We have the expertise and the resources. It is high time we all act on this. Our own major companies may eventually move and set up elsewhere (or already are), at massive cost to our economy. These developments will be immensely dangerous to the Ceylon Tea brand and the Sri Lankan tea industry as a whole,” he emphasised.  


Daily Ft, 02nd July 2018.

Kelani Estate surpasses own record yet again!

Kelani Tea Factory achieved an all-time record price of Rs. 1,000 per kg for a Low Grown BOPFSp grade surpassing its previous record of Rs. 980 at the weekly tea auctions held on 26 June. This is the third consecutive week Kelani has bettered its own record and established a new record. This line of tea was purchased by Mabroc Teas Ltd. and was marketed by M/s., Forbes & Walker Tea Brokers Ltd.

 

Kelani Tea Factory is situated in Yatiyanthotta in the Sabaragamuwa Province at an elevation of 139 metres above sea level. This factory has an annual production of approximately half a million kilos of made tea per annum and is certified under Rain Forrest Alliance, ISO22000, HACCP, CQC and Ethical Tea Partnership. 

 

This estate is managed by Eranda Welikala and comes under the purview of Kelani Valley Plantations Plc. 

 

Daily Ft, 29th June 2018.

Alma and Kelani estates establish new records


 

 

 

Alma and Kelani estates established new record prices at the weekly tea auctions held on Tuesday (12 June).

 

Alma estate established a new all-time record price of Rs. 840 per kg for a BOP1 grade in the Udapussellawa elevational category. This invoice was purchased by Basilur Tea Exports Ltd.

 

Alma Estate is situated in Kandapola, at an elevation of 1450m above sea level, and has a production capacity of 600,000kg of made tea per annum. This facility is managed by Nuwara Eliya Valley Plantations Director Chula De Alwis under the purview of Sesame Senhora Tea Ltd., headed by Ranjan Walpola.

 

Kelani Tea Factory achieved an all-time record price of Rs. 980 for a low grown BOPFsp grade, surpassing its previous record of Rs. 940 which was established at last week’s auction (5-6 June). This line of tea was purchased by Mabroc Teas Ltd.

 

Kelani Tea Factory is situated in Yatiyanthota in the Sabaragamuwa Province at an elevation of 139m above sea level. This factory has an annual production of approximately half a million kilos of made tea per annum and is certified under Rain Forrest Alliance, ISO22000, HACCP, CQC and Ethical Tea Partnership. The estate is managed by Eranda Welikala and comes under the purview of Kelani Valley Plantations PLC. 

 

The record-breaking teas were marketed by Forbes & Walker Tea Brokers  Ltd.

 

Daily FT, 14th June 2018.

 

General demand at tea auctions this week


 

By Forbes and Walker 

Tea Brokers

 

This week’s auction volumes totalled 7.9 million kgs, marginally below last week’s quantity of 8.1 million kgs. There was fair general demand mostly at easier rates following quality.

 

Ex-estate offerings were similar to last and totalled 1.2 million kgs. Overall quality remained uninteresting, with a greater weight of offerings comprising of a fair average quality product. Encouragingly, the limited availability of reasonably good liquoring teas were absorbed at firm to dearer rates, whilst the plainer, and to a greater extent, the poor leaf teas, being discounted quite significantly. Consequently, the parity between a good quality tea, vis-à-vis their poorer counterparts, is a significant Rs. 100 per kg, and at times even more. The bottom of the market, which settled at around a Rs. 450 per kg level this week, compares poorly with the corresponding levels in 2017, and more so in USD terms.  

 

Low Growns maintained a similar volume to last week of 3.46M/kgs in the Leafy/ Tippy catalogues. In the Leafy catalogue, better BOP1/OP1’s maintained. Cleaner below best too maintained, whilst all others declined. PEK/PEK1’s, except for the well-made varieties, all others were easier. A selection of well-made OP/OPA’s maintained. Others declined following quality. In the Tippy catalogue, select best FBOP’s and well-made teas in the below best were firm to dearer whilst others were discounted. Few select best FF1’s and cleaner teas in the below best were firm to dearer, whilst all others declined. In the Premium catalogue, very tippy teas, particularly the leafy tippy varieties appreciated in value. Best and below best gained, whilst others declined following quality. There was good demand from shippers to Turkey, CIS, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

 

Daily FT. 14th June 2018.

 

Tea auction this week


By Forbes and Walker Tea Brokers

 

The 20th sale of the year, which concluded yesterday, had a total of 7.93M/kg on offer. 

 

There was fair demand mostly at easier rates. Ex-Estate offerings were fairly large and totalled 1.5M/kg. Better Western BOPs declined by Rs. 20-30 per kg and more for last week’s high priced teas. The corresponding BOPF had on offer a few select invoices which gained substantially whilst the majority declined by Rs. 20-40 per kg and more following quality. 

 

In the below best category, a selection of BOPs gained Rs. 20-40 per kg following special inquiry whilst the corresponding BOPF declined up to Rs. 50 per kg. Plainer BOPs were irregular whilst corresponding BOPF - clean leaf teas up to Rs. 50 per kg easier, others Rs. 20-30 per kg easier. 

 

Nuwara Eliyas too were mostly lower following quality. Uva/Udapussellawa BOP/BOPF declined by Rs. 20-50 per kg. CTC teas were also lower by Rs. 20 per kg and more. Liquoring leafy teas continued to be neglected.

 

A salient feature of the sale was the strong demand for the limited availability of BOPs which are now commanding a premium of Rs. 30-50 per kg over their corresponding BOPF in most instances. It would also be relevant to note the bottom of the market for BOP/BOPF, which has settled between Rs. 500 and Rs. 520 per kg, is in keeping with the corresponding levels of last year. Notwithstanding, approximately a 5% depreciation of the SLR.

 

Low Growns totalled 3.1M/kgs in the Leafy/ Tippy catalogues. There was fair demand at lower levels. In the Leafy catalogue, a limited selection of well-made BOP1/OP1s maintained whilst others were irregular and lower. OP/OPAs too were generally lower by Rs. 5-10 per kg and more, particularly where quality was not maintained. Select best PEK/PEK1s were firm whilst others were barely steady. 

 

In the Tippy catalogue too, a select range of well-made FBOP/FF1s maintained while others were mostly lower. At the lower end too prices were generally lower to last by Rs. 10-15 per kg and more for the teas that did not maintain leaf style. 

 

In the Premium catalogue, a select range of well-made teas maintained whilst others were mostly lower to last. There was good demand from shippers to CIS, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Libya and Dubai.

 

Daily Ft, 25th May 2018.

 

Monthly tea auction averages down Rs. 25 in March


By Forbes and Walker Tea Brokers

 

March Auction average totalled Rs. 613.75 vis-à-vis Rs. 638.76 of March 2017, showing a decrease of Rs. 25.01. When analysing the respective elevations, High Grown average for March 2018 of Rs. 602.27 too shows a decrease of Rs. 32.57 vis-à-vis Rs. 634.84 of March 2017, whilst Mediums averaging Rs. 566.91 show a decrease of Rs. 35.49 vis-à-vis Rs. 602.40 of March 2017. Low Growns too averaging Rs. 628.98 have shown a decrease of Rs. 19.52 vis-à-vis Rs. 648.50 of March 2017. These averages also show a decrease in USD terms compared to the corresponding month of 2017.

 

When analysing the cumulative Auction average for the period January-March 2018 of Rs. 629.77 shows a gain of Rs. 21.74 vis-à-vis Rs. 608.03 of January-March 2017. High Growns for the period of January-March 2018 of Rs. 628.04 show a gain of Rs. 8.42 vis-à-vis Rs. 619.62 of January-March 2017, whilst Mediums averaging Rs. 571.86 have shown a gain of Rs. 7.58 vis-à-vis Rs. 564.28 of January-March 2017. Meanwhile Low Growns averaging Rs. 643.90 for January-March 2018 too have shown a gain of Rs. 29.08 vis-à-vis Rs. 614.82 of January-March 2017.

 

It is relevant to note that January-March 2018 prices show a decrease in USD terms compared to the price levels of January-March 2017 with the exception of the Low Grown average where 2018 prices are higher than 2017. It is also noteworthy that these levels are significantly higher both in LKR/USD terms when compared to 2016 levels.

 

Daily Ft, 05th April 2018

 

Sierra and New Hopewell achieve record prices at tea auctions

Sierra CTC entered the record books along with New Hopewell Tea Factory at the weekly tea auctions held on 27 March.

 

Sierra CTC established an all-time record price of Rs. 780 per kg for a BP1 grade in the CTC low grown elevational category. This invoice was purchased by Andaradeniya Tea Exports Ltd.

 

Sierra CTC Tea Factory is situated in Wellandura, Kahawatta, at an elevation of 187 metres above sea level and has been in the forefront of manufacturing high quality CTC teas since its inception in 2010. 

 

This factory is owned and managed by M.C. Perera, who has been involved in the plantation sector for over 30 years.

 

New Hopewell Tea Factory under the selling mark Chandrika Estate achieved an all-time record price of Rs. 750 per kg for BOP1A grade at this week’s tea auctions. This line of tea was purchased by Ranfer Teas Ltd.

 

New Hopewell Tea Factory is situated in Balangoda, Sabaragamuwa Province at an elevation of 540 metres above sea level. It is an HACCP and ISO 22000:2005 certified facility with an annual production capacity of over two million kilos of made tea.

 

This factory comes under the purview of Sesame Senhora Synergies, which is headed by Managing Director Ranjan Walpola and managed by Senior Manager Kanchana Fernanado.

 

The above record-breaking teas were marketed by Forbes & Walker Tea Brokers Ltd.

 

Daily FT, 30th April 2018.

Tea industry unites to call for lifting of glyphosate ban or viable alternative in face of mounting

Tea industry stakeholders including Sri Lanka Tea Board (SLTB) Chairman Rohan Pethiyagoda have called on policy makers to urgently re-evaluate the arbitrary ban imposed on glyphosate-based weedicides in light of overwhelming scientific consensus that the substance is not harmful to human health, most recently confirmed by Risk Assessment for Glyphosate conducted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in December 2017.

SLTB Chairman Rohan Pethiyagoda said: “The Sri Lankan plantation sector, and the tea sector in particular, are being forced to endure losses of up to Rs. 10-20 billion each year that the glyphosate ban remains in place, and it is mainly the smallholder plantations which are being deprived of these profits as a result of this extremely damaging policy. Worse still, there has not been a single piece of scientific or factual evidence produced in Sri Lanka to justify the ban. 

 

“This is an unsustainable position and it is clear that it will cause irreparable harm to our industry if immediate measures are not taken to lift the glyphosate ban. As custodians of our economy, it is imperative that policy-makers base their decisions on facts and evidence, and the reality of the current situation is that glyphosate has been banned for political reasons, without any consideration of the clear and undeniable evidence that despite being widely used for over a generation, there has been no proven links to any ill effects to human health.”

 

EPA’s human health review evaluated dietary, residential/non-occupational, aggregate, and occupational exposures. Additionally, the Agency performed an in-depth review of the glyphosate cancer database, including data from epidemiological, animal carcinogenicity, and genotoxicity studies and found no conclusive links to any ill effects. 

 

Pethiyagoda further noted that the ban was also eroding Sri Lanka’s ability to compete in international markets, given that other tea-exporting nations were not hindered by the inability to use glyphosate, while Sri Lanka has been left to grapple with increased costs of production and regulatory issues in traditional export destinations, triggered by the use of alternative weedicides introduced in the absence of glyphosate.  

 

The SLTB’s position on the glyphosate ban is mirrored by the vast majority of industry stakeholders, including the Ministry of Plantation Industries, the Tea Research Institute, Employee Trade Unions, and the Planters’ Association of Ceylon.

 

Expressing support for the stand taken by Pethiyagoda, Planters’ Association of Ceylon (PA) Chairman Sunil Poholiyadde warned that an economic calamity of national proportions is rapidly approaching if policy-makers continue to give a deaf ear to the ground realities, and demanded that policy-makers take immediate steps to remove the ban or provide a feasible and cost-effective alternative to glyphosate. 

 

“Sri Lanka remains the only country in the world to have banned glyphosate, and for the past 4 years, there has still not been a single example of a medical condition that has arisen in the plantation sector that any proponent of the ban can show as justification. Furthermore, there has not been a single country anywhere in the world that has banned imports containing glyphosate residues to date. Yet as a result of this ban, all producers – including smallholders are being forced to use alternative weedicides to control the weeds that are eating away at our crop,” Poholiyadde noted.

 

The PA and various stakeholder groups have previously called upon the Tea Research Institute to use its mandate to intervene and provide guidance to producers on a suitable alternative weedicide on an urgent basis – however, to date, there have been no such alternatives proposed. While RPCs are still held to a strict standard with regard to weedicide application, the ban has also resulted in smallholders experimenting with alternative weedicides, increasing the likelihood of an eventual ban the breaching of maximum residue limit standards in export markets. 

 

“Such alternative chemicals have already triggered warnings in export destinations like Japan, where the Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) allowed is significantly stricter for the most commonly used alternative, MCPA. In comparison, those same standards are much less strict for glyphosate residues. This lower standard for glyphosate is based on the fact that it has been internationally accepted as having no detrimental effects to human health. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka has not even specified glyphosate MRL for its own agricultural goods and food imports, in complete contradiction to the supposed rationale of the ban,” Poholiyadde noted. 

 

The US EPA’s findings are among the latest in a substantial body of scientific evidence – including a 2017 health survey conducted by the US National Institute Health which shows that the glyphosate “is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans and poses no other meaningful risks to human health when the product is used according to the pesticide label.” The agency’s scientific findings are consistent with the conclusions of science reviews by a number of other countries as well as the 2017 National Institute of Health Agricultural Health Survey.

 

“Since it is clear that this ban has nothing to do with the human health, either for those producing or consuming Sri Lankan tea, then we demand that policy makers explain why they insist on taking such an illogical position, failing which, an immediate removal of the ban be gazetted,” Poholiyadde said.

 

“Every day that the State continues its irrational inaction on this matter, costs our nation approximately Rs. 55 million in crop losses. The cost of this will have to be paid eventually, and its impact will be felt far outside just the regional plantation companies. If we can’t use glyphosate, they must clearly specify an alternative weedicide that is acceptable to all export destinations. We simply cannot afford to lose international market share due to short-sighted policy decisions,” Poholiyadde warned. 

 

Daily FT, 15th February 2018.

India’s 2017 tea exports up 8% to 241 m kg

REUTERS: India’s tea exports in 2017 jumped 8.2% from a year ago to 240.68 million kg due to good demand from Egypt, Iran and China, the state-run Tea Board said in a statement.

 

India, the world’s second-biggest tea producer, exports CTC (crush-tear-curl) grade mainly to Egypt, Pakistan and the UK, and the orthodox variety to Iraq, Iran and Russia.

 

The country’s production edged up just a percent in 2017 to 1278.9 million kg, the Board said in a separate statement.

 

Daily FT, 15th February 2018.

Bangladesh tea prices dip on poor leaf quality

REUTERS: Tea prices fell sharply at Bangladesh’s weekly auction on Tuesday, dragged down by inferior quality leaf, despite a lower volume on offer.

 

Bangladeshi tea fetched an average price of 188.44 taka ($ 2.80) per kg at the auction, compared with a revised price of 200.01 taka in the previous sale, National Brokers said.

 

Prices dropped sharply as buyers sought big discounts for poor-quality tea, of which there was a large supply, despite a drop in overall supplies, a senior official at National Brokers said.

 

About 25.5% of the 2.27 million kg offered at the sole auction centre in Chittagong was unsold, compared with 38% unsold of the 2.7 million kg offered at the previous auction.

 

Bangladesh’s tea production jumped nearly 27% in 2016 to a record 85 million kg, helped by favourable weather, making imports a choice rather than a necessity.

 

The South Asian country was the world’s fifth-largest tea exporter in the 1990s but is now a net importer because of a surge in domestic consumption in line with economic growth.

 

Daily FT, 15th February 2018

About F&W

Forbes & Walker was set up in 1881 as a partnership between James Forbes and Chapmen Walker. Although there is no actual record of the date on which it was established the very first cash book, still in the possession of the Finance Director, indicates the brokerages were earned from 1st August 1881. In Sir Thomas Villiers' book “Mercantile Lore” the date of establishment of Forbes & Walker has been put down      Read More...

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