Aug 19, 2009 – The Sri Lanka government’s failure to give back cess funds collected from tea exports for brand building spells danger to Ceylon tea, as rival origins step up marketing efforts, exporters have warned. Tea Exporters Association chairman Jayantha Keragala said promotional funding to help exporters to build brands in overseas markets, meant to come from the cess fund, had died up.
“Unless we make a concerted effort to generate brand marketing initiatives there is a real danger that we will lose our position of eminence in the international tea world,” he said.
“I must sound a word of warning,” he told the association’s annual general meeting.
“Ceylon tea’s main competitors are intensifying their international outreach and product enhancements with substantial investments. The general image of Ceylon tea as a marketable brand is waning.”
Keragala said he admired the few exporters who have established their own brands in overseas markets almost entirely with their own resources.
“Tea Board promotional funding has gradually dried up over the last few years and stands completely suspended currently.”
The funding is meant to come from a cess on every kilo of tea exported from