Sri Lankan agri-business company CIC launches tea advisory service

Sept 27, 2006 (LBO) – Sri Lankan agri-business company CIC on Tuesday launched an advisory company for plantation firms and smallholders, in efforts to up productivity and yields on local tea estates.

Mohamed says that 40 percent of tea produced in the country is of low quality, based on reports from the Tea Commissioners Division, while adoption of research findings is a low 20 to 50 percent in the agriculture sector.

The tea advisory company also maintains two analytical laboratories at Kurunegala and Pelwehera with the capacity to analyse soil, leaf and fertiliser samples.

The new company, called CIC Tea Advisory Services will offer firms consultation on cultivation, processing of tea, energy audits, analysis on soil, leaf, fertiliser samples as well as training, among others.

“CIC Tea Advisory Services will provide effective advisory and extension services to strengthen the industry,” Ziyad Mohamed, Director Tea Advisory Services and former Director of Sri Lanka’s Tea Research Institute, said late Tuesday.

“We would go to a factory, look at the processing, suggest modifications, get valuations from brokers and then give our recommendations. Existing institutions are limited in catering to the demand for these services.”

Tea is an 80 billion dollar industry locally and is among Sri Lanka’s top revenue earners, with the island producing 317 million kilos of orthodox black tea last year.

Bulk of Sri Lanka’s exports however is still in bulk form, with the industry also facing high costs of production of between 175 and 225 rupees a kilo, with fertilizer costs also going up.

Other issues include poor productivity of land, labour and factory operations.

“We already have requests from four regional plantation companies for our advisory services, with one company asking to look at why their low country factories are not doing well.”