- Drop in quality must be addressed urgently
- Competing on quantity and price undercuts will not work for SL anymore
- Stakeholders across all levels must walk the talk
The industry stakeholders must step up the efforts in maintaining the fresh aroma of the Ceylon Tea cuppa, as the gradual drop in the quality of the end product going unaddressed would result in the sector learning an expensive lesson, one that would take years to reverse, expressed the Sri Lanka Tea Board (SLTB) yesterday.
As the tea industry has been witnessing a slow drop in the quality of Ceylon Tea exported in the last seven years, SLTB Chairperson Jayampathy Molligoda said it is essential to speed up the efforts in ensuring the promised premium quality is maintained, as consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of their intake and where the products are sourced from.
“Our performance is not linked to productivity and quality. It is up to the regional plantation companies to negotiate internally and improve productivity and quality.
My biggest concern is that quality has deteriorated over the years and that we need to improve to maintain the perceived quality of Ceylon Tea across the world,” Molligoda told Mirror Business yesterday while highlighting the areas that require improvement in the industry.
Although efforts are being made to uplift this key aspect, Molligoda stressed that maintaining the ‘naturalness’ of the Ceylon Tea cuppa is essential and for that the industry stakeholders across all levels and segments must “walk the talk”.
He pointed out that Ceylon Tea is the most expensive in the world and since the industry would never be able to compete on quantity, all players must strive to maintain the high quality of the products carrying the Sri Lankan brand.
“The Ceylon Tea brand is established with three pillars at its core: authenticity, wellness and premium. The world is willing to pay higher because our teas are acknowledged to be natural.
I stress that if we continue to go by quantity and price undercutting, we will not get anything or go anywhere. The challenge is to be natural and for that we need to get our story telling right,” said Molligoda.
For the first six months of 2021 ending in May, the tea industry cumulative production showed recovery by reaching 134.72 mnkgs, which is a gain of 31.61 mnkg when compared with the corresponding period in 2020.