Saturday, March 6, 2010


Black tea, that ancient beverage crop captivated mankind for centuries and green tea with rich antioxidant credentials to day command respect from nutritionists and health experts for their ability to preempt dreaded diseases like cancer. Tea is now considered more a health product than a common beverage because of the above reasons. Massive expansion of tea cultivation by China and Kenya and their cheap produce have pushed other tea exporting nations like Sri Lanka to the brink affecting the very survival of their tea industry, unable to face fierce global competition. It speaks volume for the entrepreneurship of Sri Lankan tea industry that it has shifted its focus from run of the mill tea products to high value products like "White Tea"

"The company has opened "tea bars" where it offers tastings and classes about how to make, drink and appreciate tea, much as wineries do. These efforts are aimed at showing consumers that its tea is worth the extra cost. Dilmah's white tea, for instance, cost $11 for a box of 10 bags while a box of Twinings costs about $3. (White tea costs more than black or green tea because it is made from a smaller part of the plant and has more antioxidants.)"

World is anticipating a fall in prices of tea because of expansion plans in some countries to increase their exports. Countries like India have assured that they would not increase area under tea cultivation, limiting future plans only to rejuvenating old ones with low productivity. As for Sri Lanka, once a major tea exporter, lack of investment in this sector saw most of its tea gardens registering progressive decline in productivity and failure to go for automation further affected the out put of tea. Innovations like white tea and other high value products, probably may yet salvage the situation for tea industry in that country.

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