The Sri Lanka Tea Board and the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Riyadh joined hands with the private sector tea trade in Sri Lanka to promote ‘Pure Ceylon Tea’ in the largest Gulf market of Saudi Arabia. While a half-day session was organized for the interested buyers from Saudi to net – work effectively with the sellers from Sri Lanka, the Chamber of Commerce in Riyadh came forward graciously to host the event. Around 20 Saudi importing and distribution companies anxious to deal in Ceylon Tea participated at the gathering. The Sri Lanka team was spearheaded by H.E Azmi Thassim Ambassador and Mr. Hasitha De Alwis Director (Promotion) at Tea Board for MENA region. The following companies represented the tea export trade from Sri Lanka with the Tea Board.
• Akbar Brothers LTD
• Ceylon Tea Marketing LTD
• Expolanka Teas PVT LTD
• Ceylon Tenny Teas PVT LTD
• Ceylon Tea Land PVT LTD
The live -wire behind the scene was Gayan Rajapakse, Trade Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Riyadh who single handedly coordinated the entire event with all the relevant parties.
These tea companies form Sri Lanka came down to Riyadh to participate at the Saudi Horeca Exhibition which was held for the 6th consecutive year. The Sri Lanka Tea Pavilion at the Exhibition was a customer designed professional representation which was admired by the many visitor to the fair. The Sri Lanka Tea pavilion had a formal inauguration of its own with H.E the Ambassador Thassim as the chief guest with the traditional lighting of oil lamp and Sri Lanka savories creating a small Lanka in the ‘land of the Black Gold’
During the recent past, Saudi Arabia reaffirmed its supremacy as the largest tea consuming country in the GCC Region by importing over 37 million kilos per annum in 2015 as well as 2014. The direct Ceylon Tea exports from Sri Lanka to Saudi has been registered around 6 million kilos contributing approx 17% to the Saudi tea market.
However, UAE re-exports another 40% of the entire requirement of Saudi which also consist a share of Ceylon Teas in the blends. Thus, all in all it is estimated the market share of Ceylon Tea in Saudi Arabia is now close to 25%. Kenya and India are the other two major players in Saudi Tea market.
Embassy of Sri Lanka