As long Sri Lanka exports tea as a commodity, the local industry will continue to battle for survival, former Planters’ Association of Ceylon Chairman Mahendra Amarasuriya said recently. Speaking at the association’s AGM on Friday (17) Amarasuriya emphasised on the need of marketing tea as a specialized product instead of a commodity and noted that it is vital that at least three per cent of the plantations are replanted. As the cost of replanting is an impossible financial burden for the planters – who are already saddled with rising labour costs and a range of other issues – to bear on their own the government must extend its support. Certainly the proposal totally disregards the circumstances, which led to the privatization of the state-owned plantations, which were incurring almost Rs 1.5 billion operational losses per annum when the government appointed task force recommended privatization.” he said.]]>

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