Sri Lanka backs tea producing nations grouping

Nov 27, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is supporting efforts by other major tea growing countries to form a forum exclusively for tea producing nations, Ranjith Abeykoon, director of Tea Promotions said. The idea, being discussed at the on-going India International Tea Convention in Guwahati, is to increase global demand for tea, which now still lags production.

“The aim is to enhance global demand for tea because of competition from coffee and other beverages,” Abeykoon told LBO.

“Global tea production is more than consumption. Producers want to increase consumption so demand will be more and producers will be able to sell more tea.”

Such a forum will give producers a bigger say in the Inter-Governmental Group (IGG) on tea, under the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, which now groups both producers and importing countries.

“They the producers will have a stronger voice in IGG and will be able to focus better on issues that concern them.”

Other big tea producers like India, Kenya, China, Bangladesh and Indonesia are said to be in favour of a separate producers’ grouping.

Abeykoon said the producer countries were now at the initial stag of discussing and draf