Sri Lanka seeks to boost exports of specialty teas

Aug 30, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s tea trade plans to hold a charity auction of specialty teas as part of efforts to penetrate the fast growing market in the United States, industry officials said. The Tea Board got 410 entries for the competition representing seven agro-climatic regions in which different types of teas are grown and the green tea sector.

A Tea Board statement said 48 entries were selected for the final competition held at the World Tea Expo in Las Vegas in June.

Tea professionals nominated by the US Tea Association selected the winners.

Two lots of the winning teas were auctioned in the US immediately after the competition, the statement said.

One lot, New Vithanakande tea from Sabaragamuwa, south of Colombo, was sold for a record price of 70 dollars (7,150 rupees) a kilo.

The other, St. James tea from the Uva hill country region fetched 22 dollars (2,350 rupees) per kilo at the charity auction, the Tea Board said.

The balance regional winning teas would be auctioned in Colombo at a special tea auction on September 10.

Proceeds from the charity auction will be donated to educate tsunami-affected children in the island.