Sri Lanka hosts tea producer forum

Jan 24, 2013 (LBO) – An International Tea Producers’ Forum formed in Colombo will work to secure their common interest, Sri Lanka’s plantation industries minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said. “With an intergovernmental membership of seven of the world™s largest tea producing countries, ITPF will serve as a powerful new channel to tackle the challenges facing the global tea sector, through international cooperation,” it said in a statement.

Lalith Obeyesekere, chairman of the Planters™ Association which represents listed Regional Plantation Companies, said they look to the forum to provide long term sustainability to the tea industry in maintaining price stability and quality standards. “Tea producing countries have many common problems and challenges and objectives although they compete with each other,” he told a news conference Wednesday. “Our common objectives are backed by common interests.”

These include the need to ensure the sustainability of the tea industry which is important for the economies of the forum members, and employment and income generation.

“Foreign exchange earnings and employment generation is important for these countries. Hundreds of thou