Srilanka is in political and economic turmoil. How does this affect the Lumbini tea factory? Stories About Tea spoke with managing director Chaminda Jayawardana.What is happening in Sri Lanka right now?
Srilanka is facing an economic crisis at the moment. So Srilankan currency has been devalued against the US dollar and our foreign reserves have gone down drastically. Because of this Srilankan people are going through a very bad situation. They are facing fuel shortages,some food shortages etc…The cost of living is going up day by day. The government has elected a new president because of this situation and the situation is a little bit controlled, but still nobody knows what is going to happen.
How does it affect you on a personal level?
Luckily, lwe are doing an export trade, so because of that the tea prices have gone up and we live in the countryside. Because of this we survived a little bit, but the people who live in Colombo are getting affected badly.
How does it affect the Lumbini tea factory?
As I mentioned above,the tea trade is one of the industries which has faced the crisis well. Because the tea trade is earning from dollars,then the money is coming through the value chain through the exports. Because of that, Lumbini is moving forward with lots of challenges like fuel shortages, fertilizer shortages,material shortages etc. But the community in Lumbini tea valley is being paid a higher rate for the green leaf. So because of this lumbini is moving forward.
How are the shipment delays affecting delivery?
At the moment somehow we are managing the exports with all the obstacles. And our overseas clients are also supporting us on this; and they have a very good understanding about this.
So somehow we are managing the situation.
And on a positive note: what is going very well at Lumbini right now regarding your tea production?
As I mentioned to you in our previous conversations, Lumbini tea valley has converted a part of it to certified organic tea. And with all these problems we are converting our plantations gradually to certified organics. We can do this because we have not sprayed any chemicals on our plantations for 17 years. So our plan is to go for full organic production in the coming years and plan for a huge community development in Lumbini tea valley in the coming years with the hope that the situation in our country will recover soon.