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19 January, 2016 09:32 AM Source: Financial Times - Sri Lanka
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Better marketing and branding of Sri Lankan teas overseas, together with the potential for liberalising the industry, were just some of the issues discussed with Rohan Pethiyagoda, the newly-inducted Chairman of the Sri Lankan Tea Board, in an interview given to global research, publishing, and consultancy firm, Oxford Business Group (OBG).

Tea export volumes out of Sri Lanka showed a distinct decline in the year to November 2015 in comparison to the previous year, while global prices remained low.

Pethiyagoda believes the price component is at least in part owing to there being insufficient brand value attached to Ceylon Tea, 01-01whether in terms of retail branding by individual companies or generic branding through “Ceylon Tea”.

“Sri Lanka needs to think more in finding itself a niche or multiple niches in the global beverage market, rather than just looking at manufacturing bulk tea and selling it to the highest bidder,” he said. “This is a crude way of doing it, maintaining the status quo, and we have done it for a century and a half. Our marketing efforts need to ensure that Ceylon Tea continues to communicate superior quality, as does Swiss Chocolate, French Wine, or Colombian Coffee.”

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