Sri Lanka tea producers say need support for replanting

Apr 17, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s plantations companies needs financial support to replant ageing trees as production costs rose, an industry official said as the state held back proceeds from an industry development levy. Dhamitha Perera, chairman of the Planters’ Association which represents corporate tea producers, said the costs of replanting estates with old tea bushes and rubber trees were high.

Industry experts have expressed concern that the island’s replanting rate was inadequate and below stipulated levels, possibly affecting future production as rival origins with younger plantations increased exports.

Perera said funds raised from an export tax of four rupees a kilo on tea shipments, partly meant to help with replanting, have also not been ploughed back into the industry as they were meant to.

Large resident larbour forces meant the regional plantations companies (RPCs) bore costs not borne by producers in other sectors.

“In the corporate sector we have certain overheads that certain other producers and individual factory owners may not have,” Perera told LBO in an interview.

“We carry a large resident larbour force plus a large amount of pensioned people and dependants for whom we have