August 16 (LBO) – Sri Lankan tea exporters can tap into about 30 million rupees in cess funds being given this year as an incentive for value added exports of Ceylon tea. Exporters can submit claims based on volumes exported, proof of value addition under Sri Lankan brand labels, provided pack sizes are under three kilos, Dias Wanigasekera, Chief Executive Officer of the Tea Association of Sri Lanka, told LBO on Tuesday.
The value added teas will have to be of 100 percent Sri Lankan origin under Sri Lankan brands and the Ceylon tea “Lion” logo, owned by registered exporters.
Net weight of packs exceeding three kilos are not entitled to the incentive, with most applications for tea bags, small packs and flavoured teas.
The Teas Association has asked exporters to make their claims until March next year for the incentive for teas shipped in 2006.
“If exporters want any changes to the current incentive scheme, they could also submit their proposals before September 30 this year,” Wanigasekera said.
About 15 exporters may be selected, based on applications for a similar scheme last year, though applications for 2005 payments are still held up at the Tea Board.
Sri Lanka has been trying to encourage value added exports of tea, with the government also exempting exporters of tea bags from income tax.
Sri Lanka is one of the largest tea exporters in the world, with 36 percent of the 300 million kilos of local tea exports in the form of value added tea bags, packets or flavoured teas. .