June 26, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is to join a global forum of major tea producing countries, Tea Board chairman Lalith Hettiarachchi said. Most major tea producing countries have signed a memorandum of understanding to form the International Tea Producers Forum (ITPF) which will focus on issues of concern to producers, he said.
The Plantations Industries Ministry is to seek cabinet approval soon to ratify Sri Lanka’s membership of the ITPF, he said.
The MoU was signed at the recent meeting of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Inter-Governmental Group (IGG) on Tea meeting of tea producing and consuming countries in China.
The ITPF is modeled on the lines of the International Coffee Organization, International Pepper Community, and Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Members of the proposed forum include Kenya, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Tanzania, Malawi, and Zimbabwe.
China, which is mainly a green tea producer, is not a member of the producers forum.
Major tea producer countries as well as the FAO expressed concern over the possibility of excess production at the IGG meet