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Author Topic: US$ 25mn loan for tea small holders to develop 3,500 hectares of new land  (Read 983 times)
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« on: March 31, 2010, 03:52:31 AM »

US$ 25mn loan for tea small holders to develop 3,500 hectares of new land
By Steve A. Morrell
29 March 2010


Ceylon Tea Brokers Limited said in their weekly Tea market report that the Sri Lankan Government pledged loan facilities ex the International Fund for Agricultural Development. The loan is designed to benefit Tea Small Holders, Small producers, Women, Landless households, and young people in rural areas.

The loan component also includes improvement and profitability to marginal tea lands in the Mid-Country. Expectations are that 3500 hectares new land will come under Tea aided by this loan facility. Also included are land tracts in Moneragala, Kegalle, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya. Eventually end result would be that some 8700 households would benefit. Individually approximately 32, 500 persons would be gainfully employed tending their own small holdings. Project Co-ordinator C. Maliyadda is reported to have said the programme aims to improve living standards of smallholders encouraging entrepreneurship and partnership between them and the Tea Factory Owners Association factories who usually absorb green leaf from these small holders. Already about 75 hectares of these tae lands are in production, he said.

Apart from improving the tea sector overall goal is rural poverty reduction and improvement of livelihood. The project aims to improve small holder profitability by at least 30 %.

Farmers would also be encouraged to grow other products. Included are fruits, vegetables spices, cereal, milk, and dairy production.

As expected market conditions held good last week too. A senior Company Consultant, who declined identification said prices have never been so good. It is therefore essential that all tea producers should without exemption be making money, and substantially so.

We on our part discussed these possibilities with a cross section of managerial personnel in four tea companies who said they were making good profits irrespective of the collective agreement concluded last year, with trade unions. Prices were literally going through the roof, this source said. There was therefore no excuse that tea companies should still be managed at losses.

Last week, after lapse of at least six months some seven million kilos were on offer, Low growns sold well. So too higher elevation teas.

According to the Asia Siyaka Tea market report a line of Mahagastota BOP sold at substantial levels of Rs. 700. per kilo. In Dimbulla the going price for a Mattakelle Dust 1 was Rs. 560. per kilo.

Asia Siyaka also reported that an Indian tea expert will help to grow tea in the UK. The report said Local Company Taylors of Harrogate in the northern English country of Yorkshire has sought help from Indian Tea experts in its plan to develop one of UK’s first tea gardens, the BBC reported. Experts from Assam have already reported on soil conditions and so on, suitable for tea.

Tea circles here said this was certainly not good news to the Sri Lanka Tea industry, because some ten to 20 years ago, the Tea Research Institute in Talawakelle was considered the 'Mecca' of the tea industry world wide. ‘Why should the UK go to India for tea advice and not Sri Lanka?’ was a question they asked.

The Yorkshire Tea Company says about nine million cups Yorkshire Tea is drunk each day. They have planned their tea garden in the not so tropical town of Harrogate.

Source: The Island http://www.island.lk/2010/03/29/business2.html
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