Refuse tea sales gets state approval
Sri Lanka’s tea industry is currently looking at options to open up a new market wave through proper regulation in selling inferior quality teas – a process that would be completed within the next four months.
With 30 million kg of “refuse tea” produced annually, termed by the industry as BM Fannings, these graded teas considered of an inferior quality compared to other premium grades are currently receiving state patronage.
The government will be looking to “decriminalize refuse tea since it is not something wrong,” Sri Lanka Tea Board Chairman Lucille Wijewardena told the Business Times adding that within the next four months the process would be completed.
He noted that according to the ISO standards this product could not be exported but once blended with the premium quality teas it could be exported after it had been re-processed at the centres prescribed especially for this process.
Even now the product is decriminalized and “we are allowing the people to reprocess it,” Mr. Wijewardena explained adding that the government would be supporting the factories in this regard as well.
Reprocessing of these inferior quality teas is carried out at separate centres where special machines are used to do this and not at the same factory locations where processing is being carried out for the premium grades.
In addition these factories would be given auction rights as well, Mr. Wijewardena explained adding that already 26 factories have been allowed.
Moreover, these types of teas are restricted in their transportation in that different approvals need to be sought prior to transporting them.
Mr. Wijewardena pointed out that since it was used in corrupt practices and since the product is not something that was bad after all authorities have sought to decriminalize this type of tea.
This would ensure that proper regulation would be in place and government support extended to produce the BM Fannings grade into a re-processed tea that would subsequently be blended with some of the premium quality grades to make it marketable.
At present some of the loose bulk teas sold in the local market are what the public generally refer to as refuse tea. This is actually the BM Fannings grade which the industry notes to be a form of tea that could be re-processed further to ensure it could be consumable adding that it was not a bad type of tea after all.
However, it was noted that this was an inferior quality and the re-processing would ensure that about 30-40 per cent of it is actually the black teas.
Source - http://www.sundaytimes.lk/180923/business-times/refuse-tea-sales-gets-state-approval-312490.html