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‘Shipping charges have been increased significantly with COVID’

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How is the fertilizer ban being introduced in Sri Lanka?
After few months of strict regulations,Sri lankan government had to change their decision to import fertiliser. Now the fertiliser is available, but the government has removed the subsidy which paid on it. So the farmers have to pay a higher price and buy the fertilizer. But luckily the tea market also went up and because of that gradually the farmers are buying fertilizer and applying to the fields.

How is Lumbini doing at the beginning of 2022? What work needs to be done during this time of year?
With the fertilizer ban Lumbini started their organic certification preparations and finally Lumbini Tea Valley got the organic certification for a part of the plantation as well as for 15 small farmers. It is a great achievement for Lumbini and the hard work we have been doing by stopping using chemicals inside the tea valley from 2005 paid off with this. Lumbini got USDA,EURO AND JAS Certifications for their organic teas. Now Lumbini Tea Valley has their own certified organic teas manufactured and shipped direct fresh from the plantation to the whole world. So our plan is to convert more farmers in the future gradually for organic farming as well as our own gardens. Lumbini wants to supply good quality organic tea to the whole world in future as they did with normal teas. Surrounded by the only virgin rainforest in Sri lanka, Lumbini tea valley will be fitted to one of nature’s properties. So we are really happy that we are going with nature and doing our production.

How is covid affecting your shipment?
Shipping charges have been increased significantly with covid and sometimes the shipments are getting delayed as well. For some countries,the shipping charges had been increased 3 times earlier. So this is really harmful for the industry.

How has covid in general affected the Ceylon tea industry?
In the beginning of the pandemic we faced a lot of problems like tea auction cancellations, tea leaf transportation problems and shortage of empty containers with less imports coming to the country. All those things were sorted out and now we are facing this problem of shipping charge increase.

Are you optimistic about the future of your tea business now covid seems to be under control?
Of course. With fertilizer coming into the country hopefully our markets will go up in value with the lesser quantities of tea and we will be able to manufacture more and more quality tea which is already happening amongst the ceylon tea manufacturers. As I always believe Ceylon tea is a quality oriented product rather than quantity oriented,so this is a very good platform for us to concentrate more on quality. It will not be easy, but as a quality tea producing nation,we will be able to take up this challenge. The whole world will see more and more quality tea coming out from Sri lanka in future for sure.

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