New tea planting, replanting, Govt. Priorities - State Minister Kanaka Herath | Daily News


 

New tea planting, replanting, Govt. Priorities - State Minister Kanaka Herath

Solar energy for factories
Minister  Kanaka Herath

State Minister of Company Estate Reforms,  Tea Estate Crops,  Tea Factory Modernization  and Tea Export Diversification  Kanaka Herath  said yesterday  that  the priority  of the Government  for the tea industry  would  be planting  new tea plants and replanting  which will enhance the  crop available for exports.   

 Sri Lanka’s annual tea production, which was 340 million kilos in 2014, has dwindled to 290 Million kilos, which was not at all a good sign for the industry.  

He said that he Government would be allocating Rs. 300,000 per hectare for new planting and Rs. 350,000 per hectare for replanting.  This would be applicable not only for the estates coming under the aegis of the Regional Plantation Companies, but also for Tea Small Holders as well. It is also moot to note that 73% of the tea that is produced   is accounted for the tea small holders and only 27% is contributed by the Regional Plantation Companies.

 State Minister Herath also said that there will be consultations with other State Ministries as well aimed at growing cinnamon, pepper et al   which would enhance the revenue of the tea estates as well.

 Plans are also afoot to grow organic tea as well. Some of the main issues faced by the tea industry from growing side have been low productivity, high cost of production of Ceylon Tea and thus eroding competitiveness.Concerns on declining tea production when increasing export volume in the global market place. Lack of emphasis on developing quality tea nurseries.

Not enough re-planting & infilling programs undertaken and less focus more on soil - fertility management to improve land and cost optimization.The government has given the green light to commence the following activities with the support from Tea Board by tea growers supervised by Tea Small Holdings Development Authority and the Sri Lanka Tea Board, he said.

Moves are also afoot to establish a Model tea gardening program with drip irrigation/fertigation, ‘Hedge row’ planting leading to mechanization as well. “We will support effective use of plucking and pruning machines and optimum level of worker deployment.”

Financial assistance to put up tea nurseries and replanting subsidy.

There will be implementation of shade management and agro- forestry integration as well.

Introduction of solar power applications in tea industry optimization at factories other green energy solutions, to minimize factory cost and towards green energy and assist cost of mechanization at factory production as well.   He said that the above will ensure maintaining purity of Ceylon Tea offering at the auction.

 


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