“Government doesn’t want to increase prices. However, we have to face that harsh reality” said the Minister of Plantation, Dr. Ramesh Pathirana in Galle recently.
He was speaking at the event of distribution of agricultural equipment to tea societies in Baddegama, Galle.
The event was jointly organized by the Ministry of Plantations and the Tea Small Holdings Development Authority.
Speaking further, the Minister said,
“Currently, the tea industry is facing with a huge labor shortage. Therefore, if the futuristic paddy and tea industry is not mechanized, this industry will face with a major crisis. Therefore, the necessary equipment is provided to pluck tea leaves and plant seedlings. In the future, we will provide more modern technological equipment required for this industry”.
Tea leaf harvesting machine in particular needs to be popularized as soon as possible. Plucking is usually done weekly. But when plucking with this device, the plucking has to be done every two weeks. Therefore, many people are reluctant to pluck leaves using the machines. However, the Tea Research Institute has shown that plucking leaves every two weeks does not reduce the yield. We want to overcome the shortcomings and create a better day for the plantation industry. The present government will not hesitate to provide all possible assistance for the purpose. Our tea harvest this year is 320 million kilos. Registering an increase of 40 million kilos compared to the last year.
Successful tea cultivation requires fertilizer as well as tall shade plants and short shade plants. It needs water facilities as well. The Tea Small Holdings Development Authority will provide free shade trees and short shade plants required for tea cultivation.
Revenue from tea, coconut, cinnamon and rubber related exports have been increasing over the past two years. This year, we will get the highest coconut and rubber income for the first time in the history of Sri Lanka. Cinnamon export earnings are expected to reach US $ 600 this year.
We are working to further enhance productivity which has earned national wealth for 150 years. Although there is some inconvenience at this time, it will all be fine in the future. A transformative change in tea cultivation will be expected next year.
At present, the prices of every commodity in the world have gone up. The prices of crude oil, cement, sugar and steel have all gone up. No government wants to increase prices. But we have to face that harsh reality. We are sorry about that. The country has lost US $ 10 billion in foreign exchange from tourism alone in the last two years. Therefore, the amount of dollar in the country is low. But in the next two or three months, all this will be okay. So, stay more confident with the government.
Mr. Isuru Dodangoda, Member of Parliament for Galle District, Chairman and Members of the Baddegama Pradeshiya Sabha, Baddegama Divisional Secretary, and officials of the Tea Small Holdings Development Authority and representatives of tea societies were also present at the occasion.