Sri Lanka’s premier tea exporter Akbar Brothers was awarded by the Sri Lanka Standards Institution (SLSI) as the first tea company in the world to be awarded ‘COVID-19 Control Environment’ certification in the backdrop of the lethal virus affecting 11.6 million people globally and over 560,000 fatalities.
Under the Akbar brand umbrella, the company offers a comprehensive product range: traditional black and green tea in packs and tea-bags, together with flavoured and herbal teas and a variety of different packaging options that reaches over 200 companies globally.
“We are proud to announce that we have ‘COVID-19 Controlled Environment’ status,” said Group Chief Operating Officer Janek Jayasekara. A company that has a heritage of marketing ‘Ceylon Tea’ in Sri Lanka to a history as far back to the slopes of up country, Akbar Brothers, as a company has won the most converted awards in Sri Lanka such as the Highest Foreign Exchange Earner, Best Sri Lankan Export Brand, Highest Value Added Exporter – Tea Sector, Highest Foreign Exchange Earner – Tea Sector, Best Sri Lankan Export. Akbar, being the most market diversified exporter, has taken the high ground with this certification.
“Technically called ‘COVID-19 Safety Management System Certification,’ an idea mooted by Rotary, it was carried forward by SLSI and now we are in the process of being globally accredited and sponsored by Rotary and I thank this esteemed organisation for partnering SLSI to make Sri Lanka safe and support the national agenda for a V-shaped economic recovery,” said SLSI Director General/CEO Dr. Siddhika Senaratne. “In Sri Lanka, clusters emerge but with strong management through identification, contract tracing and treatment, the virus has been contained to be under 2100 with a fatality rate of 0.3% which we, as Sri Lankan’s must be proud of. Neighbouring India crossed 20,000 fatality rate of 2.8% whilst the United States is recording 140,000 fatalities at 4.4%. Latest data reveals that the US will clock 200,000 deaths by 1 November this year which has resulted in the economy contracting to -8% as per IMF,” said Stop the Spread Director Dr. Rohantha Athukorala.
“I have declared this project as the key national project for the year 2020/21 for Rotary Sri Lanka and Maldives,” said new Governor of Rotary Ajith Weerasinghe.
Incidentally, the project was picked early, way back as early April by the Global Foundation Chairman 2020/21 K.R. Ravindran and he personally nurtured the project that was featured at the Global Rotary convention that reached over 100,000 Rotarians across 200 countries.
“I am pleased to say that the certification practically helped Akbar Brothers align the three production entities to the new norms required as per the ‘COVID-19 Control Environment’ certification,” said COO Jayasekara. “The certification also gives confidence for us to operate at the optimum level of efficiency practicing the proper protocols of social distancing, hand washing and wearing a mask.”