Sri Lanka will resume exporting tea to Iran shortly, according to the Minister of Plantation Industries, Navin Dissanayaka, through a joint contract signed between the Sri Lanka Tea Board (SLTB), the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), and Iran.
The CCP owes Iran 320 million dollars for purchases of oil from Iran, the minister said. The SLTB will now export 320 million dollars of tea to Iran for a CPC format to be reimbursed by the tea exporters.
Because of worldwide Iranian sanctions, there can be no economic transactions and this is the best way out of this win-win situation for all. The government also noted that minister Dissanayake was very disappointed with tea plants because they are far below the 2 percent annual replantation target. “Agriculture exports are not subject to these sanctions, but we can not export and receive payments because the banks get blacklisted when they do business with Iran. “Now this is below 0.05%. In order to cover the Ministry, a fresh initiative has been introduced to give 15 million crops under the program. The SLTB will also be very hard on tea factory owners, who add sugar syrup to tea and use the latest scientific techniques to identify these plants. For the purpose, we have demanded a reimbursement to the CESS fund from govt as soon as the funds are collected. The minister also stated that following a series of applications by the team, a cabinet proposal would be intended to provide them with a financing package after the Ester Sunday blows and decreases in tea and worldwide demand. “We have already suspension fifteen therapeutic plants for a period of three months.” Minister Dissanayake also said he was not pleased about the way some local growers neglect CSR operations in the interests of employees. “We also look at salary growth in a wider dimension,” he added.
Global tea marketing campaign to kick off in September
The much-awaited and long overdue Global tea marketing campaign will finally start from September this year, said Minister Navin Dissanayaka.
“We will start the campaign from Russia and will then extend to 11 other countries including Europe and the Gulf.”
He said that they will soon call tenders from agencies for this and the total budget allocated for a period of three years will be US$ 50 million which would be withdrawn from the Tea Cess Fund which has an asset base in the excess of Rs. 3.3 billion.
The Minister also disclosed key emphasis on the global marketing campaign that would be on social media.