Exports of rubber, coconut, and cinnamon have generated US $ 4 billion in export earnings this year, Plantation Minister, Dr. Ramesh Pathirana said.
“This year is the golden year of the plantation industry despite some issues,” the minister said.
The Minister made this observation while participating in a function organized at the Apegama premises in Battaramulla to recognize the officers who have completed 25 years of service in the Tea Small Holdings Development Authority.
The Minister said the plantation industry and agriculture faced a severe crisis this year.
“Even at that moment, the crises have not been resolved. Those crises arose with the ban on fertilizer. But we have already found solutions to the problem. So, do not hesitate to get involved in the plantation industry. But, whatever the challenges, we are committed to making the tea industry a profitable industry next year. The Tea Small Holdings Development Authority has a special role to play in carrying out that task,” the Minister said.
“Despite the crisis, this year has been a golden year for the plantation industry. Nearly US $ 4 billion is expected to be earned from the export of rubber, coconut, and cinnamon this year. This will be the highest export earnings we receive the first time in history. Despite the potential for high export earnings from the tea industry, it was missed. But there is a potential to harvest about 305 million kilos of tea this year. We are ready to meet the problems that we have faced this year and face them in a new way next year as well. As a government, we are ready to provide maximum assistance for the purpose,” he also said.
Minister Pathirana also noted that this year has been a year of high tea replanting. “We are also ready to provide tea plants and compost fertilizer free of charge to anyone who wishes to grow tea. Now we need to go beyond traditional cultivation. Only then, we will be able to build a better plantation economy. A large number of people have already asked for tea plants. It is our responsibility to provide them with the necessary technical know-how and high-yielding tea plants,” he pointed out.
The Government has given permission to import fertilizer again. Therefore, the country will receive sufficient fertilizer by February. But now the price of fertilizer in the world market has gone up. Due to this, a problem has arisen in our country regarding the price of fertilizer.
He said that as per the plans, discussions are already underway to give a higher price for the green leaf at a low-price next year.
State Minister of Company Establishment Reforms, Tea Estate Crops, Tea Factory Modernization, and Tea Export Diversification, Kanaka Herath; Secretary to the Ministry of Plantation, Ravindra Hewawitharana; Secretary to the State Ministry, Tilakaratne Banda; Chairman of the Tea Small Holdings Development Authority, Dr. Thushara Priyadarshana; Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tea Board, Jayampathi Molligoda were also present.