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Author Topic: Poor energy utilisation, bad labour productivity cast pall of gloom on tea  (Read 1108 times)
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« on: March 17, 2010, 10:31:43 AM »

Poor energy utilisation, bad labour productivity cast pall of gloom on tea
*Eighty-one factories suspended
Steve A. Morrell


Badly-handled labour productivity, poor energy utilization, and a plethora of problems continue to plague the tea industry, says an industry expert.

Acting Tea Commissioner, Sri Lanka Tea Board, E. A.J. K. Edirisinghe addressed the forum on Sri Lanka Standards Institution Awareness programme, for product Certification for Tea, last week. The awareness programme was convened for the tea industry.

Edirisinghe supported his remarks about the industry with photographs identifying cross section in sub-standard conditions operative in tea factories.

He also supported further remarks with salutary conditions observed in some other tea factories. Although he did not identify sector Contrasts, photographic evidence was quite shocking.

Archaic conditions obtaining in these manufacturing plants could have had a common denominator at least 40 or 50 years ago, but certainly not in this day and age. Filth and unhygienic conditions came in for strict censure he said.

It is to be simultaneously assumed that ‘Best practices’ factories all belonged to the formal tea sector managed by Regional Plantation Companies. Adherence to basics of "Everything in its place and a place for everything" could have been attributed to that sector. This was the assumption. And according to the visual evidence pleasing aspects were also shown in graphic detail that there were also optimum conditions in place.

That too more updated conditions of orderliness and adherence to hygene were simultaneously operative in those factories.

He also said 81 tea factories were suspended. Questioned by the press, he said he did not have actual details at hand to identify the factories suspended, or indicate their management origins.

Present at these sessions were Sri Lanka Tea Board (SLTB) Chairman Lalith Hettiarchchi as well as Sri Lanka Standards Institute (SLSI) Chairman Dr. A.R.L. Wijesekera.

SLTB Director General H. D. Hemaratne also addressed the forum.

Strength Regulatory Activity was now in place and Quality Monitoring Systems now being carried out ensured tea produced in Sri Lanka carried the prestige of the Brand, ‘Ceylon Tea’.

It was also noteworthy that Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point or commonly used HACCP, or the coined ‘hasep’, was now mandatory to all factories, rather than optional. Similar attributes were being carried out, he said.

Tea belonged to 38 industry categories exported. Identified in the food and beverage category, said SLSI Director General Dr. L.N.Senaweera.

He said tea was standardized for quality and exactitude for product presentation in the international sphere of trade. There was no leniency for compromising on standards. If such products failed they had to be withdrawn and subject to heavy strictures. Pointedly, he said that tea particularly, being in the food and beverage category, was exposed to strict assessment.

An independent agency carries out testing validation. In consequence trade Affiliated Certification, and ‘third party’ certification becomes essential for such validation.

He also said the tea industry was also subject to inspection and approval of the RVA, Operative in The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom Aggregate Service. There were also other standards that were applicable but for the record these assessments were illustrated to ensure Tea came under strictures of intense standardization. There was therefore no leeway for standards compromising.

One other aspect to assessment was exposure to peer assessment.

Although Dr. Senaweera did explain its significance it was also of importance that other producing countries could call for inspection of Ceylon tea if its purity was in doubt. Similarly other producing countries could also be exposed to inspection by, for instance, Sri lanka.

Source: The Island: http://www.island.lk/2010/03/17/business2.html
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