Sri Lanka tea industry eyes NZ dairy success

Nov 23, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s tea industry needs to work together more closely like New Zealand’s dairy industry which dominates a big share of the world’s dairy trade, an industry official said. Kumar Jayasuriya, chairman of James Finlay, Colombo, a big plantations company whose ultimate parent is Britain’s Swire group, said the industry was too fragmented with key sections having conflicting interests.

“The industry is kind of fragmented now with exporters who buy at the auctions, add value, do branding and export, and the regional plantations companies focusing on growing tea,” he told an investor forum.

The forum was organised by Leopard Capital, which is setting up a 100 million dollar fund to invest in Sri Lanka, whose economy is seen reviving with the end of a 30-year ethnic war.

“Ideally, we should have a way of producers and exporters getting together, like New Zealand’s dairy board through which products are branded and exported,” said Jayasuriya.

“If that kind of thing is possible it would be very good.”

New Zealand’s dairy industry was first grouped together under the New Zealand Dairy Board, and then under a new company, Fonterra Co-operative Group.

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