Tea World

Lesson 29

Organic tea in Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka pioneered organic tea production in the world in 1983 and marketing in 1987.Biodynamic tea production commenced in 1996. Biodynamic agriculture is a form of alternative agriculture very similar to organic farming, but it includes various esoteric concepts drawn from the ideas of Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925). Initially developed in 1924, it was the first of the organic agriculture movements. Sri Lanka continues to produce organic and biodynamic teas at 4905.58 ha, constituting a 2.21 percent of the tea area of the country.

Organic and biodynamic tea production is being expanded in the cooperates and smallholder sectors and organized farmer groups in different agro-ecological regions and in the majority of marginal and low yielding tea fields have been converted to organic tea.

The Sri Lankan organic tea industry caters for black, green and silver tip teas in bulk and processed teas, value-added teas with flavours and environmentally friendly packages which fetch a minimum of 2-3 fold premium prices in the international markets. UK, Australia, Germany, Japan, Netherlands and the United States are the traditional buyers of Sri Lankan organic tea .Other destinations are Italy, France, Canada, Singapore and Spain. The local demand for organic teas is now increasing. Once upon a time, it was a growth sector but now in Sri Lanka, the organic certification process is very costly – a factor that makes organic tea 10-15% more expensive than regular tea.

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