Wednesday, January 20, 2010


By Steve A. Morrell

The Japan Tea Association will host the Ceylon Estate Tea of the Year competition this year in Tokyo.

This year will be its third exposure. Previously the US held the competition. That was about three years ago. Both previous contests were in the US.

There is this year addition of a new dimension to what will happen in Japan.

Innovative Tea will also be exhibited and subject to competition.

Innovation will include hand rolled tea, and varied product processes that could also have tea processed into balls; or sun dried long leaf products.

All competitors have been encouraged to be as innovative as possible and stretch imagination to its extreme to ensure exhibits reach high standards to fall in line with guide lines demanded.

We had this information from Tea Brokering sources who also said the Tea Board will also have stall organization facilities and ensure Ceylon Tea standards are maintained.

We are also informed the entire Tea Industry would be active participants. The Planters’ Association of Ceylon, (PA) The Colombo Tea Traders Association, (CTTA) The Tea Brokers Association (BA), Tea Exporters Association (TEA), The Planters, Tea Small Holders, The private Tea factory Owners Association, would all have participatory slots to ensure wide participation.

The Tea board had received approximately 441 applications. Of which 40 were selected by an expert selection panel.

Selections were from seven geographical locations selected from diverse elevation origins including Ruhuna, Sabaragamuwa, Nuwara Eliya, Dimbula, Uva, Uda Pussellawa, and Kandy,

Innovative Teas were from Two Uva Estates, and three from Southern Factories.

This week 7.7 million kilos would be on offer.

After months of low weekly offerings, this week will see seven odd million being auctioned.

Market conditions are good Brokers said; prices will hold. Likelihood of minor plus variances too will not be ruled out.

But according to the Weekly Tea market report published by Asia Siyaka Tea Brokers Ltd., major tea crop producers will have to contend with further drop in production.

Quoting publication from Managing Director McLeod Russel India Ltd., Aditya Khaltan, he said global drop in production will worsen and give rise to unprecedented increase in prices.

This would be completely contrary to the Food and Agriculture Organisation rational that production would over shoot demand and drop in prices would be inevitable.

We are now left with two possibilities; but encouraged to accept that shortage in the Sri Lanka context could be reduced subject to conducive weather conditions effective march this year.

Meantime prices could improve in the short term because of impending Western quality being experienced which could have positive impact on market strengths.

We asked one Broker who declined to be identified, on finding new markets to off set those lost. He said it is the job of the Tea Board to seek new locations for new markets.

The Tea Board, we are aware, apart from traveling to distant lands presumably to market our tea, have nothing tangible to show they have achieved new markets to sell Ceylon Tea.

source -

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