Sri Lanka’s south gets new tea factory

June 23, 2009 (LBO) – A new tea factory has been set up in Sri Lanka’s southern Hambantota district where high-priced low grown teas are cultivated by small farmers, the government information department and the Tea Board said. But Hemaratna said the new one in Hambantota had been approved before the decision and was also outside the main southern growing regions. The factory in Walasmulla in Hambantota district has a capacity to make 5,000 kilos of black tea a day and was set up by the Yalta Tea company with an investment of 45 million rupees, the information department said in a statement.

Tea Board director general H D Hemaratna said the new factory was built on the premises of an old one that had been demolished.

Low grown teas cultivated in southern Sri Lanka are much sought after in the Middle East and Russia and now account for over half the island’s production.

They also fetch high prices and help sustain thousands of small cultivators in the southern economy.

The tea board had stopped giving approval for more tea factories in the main southern growing districts because there was an oversupply of processing plants competing for the available supply of green leaf.