THE Inter Governmental Group (IGG)on Tea has identified the need to produce better quality tea in order to eliminate the substandard varieties from the world market which will subsequently lead to higher tea prices.
Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tea Board, Niraj de Mel said that the Group agreed at the recent meeting in Bali, to appoint a working committee of at least six of the leading tea producers with one consuming country to work out an action plan based on ISO 3720 as the minimum standard to control excess supply.
"It was proposed at the recent international tea producer conference held in London early May to work out a mechanism to control production to correct supply-demand imbalance.
Sri Lanka's original proposal at the 15th sessions held in Colombo in 2003 to enforce ISO 3720 as the minimum standard for tea exports which was then not supported, was accepted wholeheartedly by all producers at the recent Bali meeting," de Mel said.
He called upon all stakeholders of the Sri Lankan tea industry to ensure compliance to the quality control measures already followed by the Tea Board to meet crucial decisions taken by producing countries.
He said the Sri Lankan delegation advised the group that value addition and diversity of tea grades largely assisted towards higher prices compared to other producing countries.
Among the other important decisions taken at the meeting were to expedite harmonising of the Maximum Residue Levels (MRL's) on pesticides.
Tea researchers from producing countries will meet shortly in India to work out a common mechanism to address this growing consumer issue. - (CK)