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Historical Tea association form in Sri Lanka. (World News).

SRI LANKA -- Six key stakeholders in Sri Lanka's tea industry have formed a federation as a pan-industry apex body, be-lieved to be the first of its kind by a major tea producing country, a senior minister announced recently.

The Tea Association of Sri Lanka (TASL) is intended, to transform the 135-year-old industry into a truly global force and facilitate a greater private sector role in strategy formulation, and implementation, Plantation Industries Minister Lakshman Kiriella said.

The minister told a news conference the association, representing tea producers, traders, exporters, smallholders, private factory owners and brokers, would in its initial states be funded largely through the on-going Asian Development Bank (ADB) supported Plantation Reform Project (PRP) and the proposed Plantation Development Project (PDP).

He said an analysis of the success of other national industries in the global market, such as Colombian coffee, South African wine, Dutch, floriculture and India software had clearly shown the need for an industry-run apex body to develop common long term strategy, coordinate industry efforts to meet the needs of this strategy, provide inputs to policymakers and run industry efforts such as trade and consumer promotion, research and product development, in the context of a global market.

"The Sri Lankan tea industry is one of the biggest in the world, and a vital element fo the national economy," Minister Kiriella said. "However, the industry comprises multiple stakeholder groups with diverse interests and differing priorities. The success of implementing any common long term strategy will lie in the ability of the industry to work-rogether with an apex body to speathead activites."

TASL Chairman Rohan Fernando said the association comprising the Planters Association of Ceylon (PA) of which he is chairman, the Colombo Tea Treaders. Association (CTTA), the Tea Exporters' Association (TEA), Sri Lanka Federation of Tea Small Holdings Development Societies (SLFTSHDS), Private Tea Factory Owners' Association (PTFOA) and the Colombo Brokers Association (CBA) had developed implementation and funding plans up to 2006.

He said the initial tasks of the association would be to promote Ceylon Tea globally, develop market intelligence, and leverage quality through a quality certification program with the establishment of certification infrastructure. The TASL would also be involed in strategy and policy development and be a catalyst for product development and research Funding plans for the first five years of the TASL's operations envisage an investment of about Rs 200 million, largely from donor funds but with an increasing contribution from the Tea Cess and fee-based activities in the longer term, Fernan do disclosed.

Listing some of the other functions of the association, he said the TASL would facilitate strategic alliances and collaborate with supporting institutions such as the Tea Research Institute (TRI), Sri Lanka Tea Board and the Tea Smallholdings Development Authority to ensure alignment with industry needs. The TASL also plans to be the conduit for the establishment of a market intelligence and promotion center, for e-trading, to establish liaisons with non governmental organizations to raise awareness on international codes of conduct and for certification standards relating to social, welfare and environmental conditions.

"It has taken this industry more than a century to take this logical step of harnessing the synergies of all stakeholders towards a common goal," Fernando pointed out. "We feel it is about time the industry united to put Ceylon Tea firmly on the world map in generic terms as well as in brand terms."

He said the establishment of a "Ceylon Standard" quality certification program and the implementation of national and international communications plans were expected to be key elements of this effort to establish and reinforce the image of Ceylon tea globally.
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Title Annotation:Tea Association of Sri Lanka
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Geographic Code:9SRIL
Date:Jun 20, 2003
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