Russia tea ban temporary - SL Ambassador | Page 2 | Daily News

Russia tea ban temporary - SL Ambassador

The first-ever National Tea Awards were held to mark the 150th anniversary of Ceylon Tea at Nelum Pokuna with President Maithripala Sirisena as the Chief Guest recently where the contributions and achievements made by individuals and companies in several fields of the tea industry were recognised. Awards were also presented to the best tea plucker, male and female, and tea small holders. Here Plantation Industries Minister Navin Dissanayake at the Nelum Pokuna presenting a memento to President Sirisena.
The first-ever National Tea Awards were held to mark the 150th anniversary of Ceylon Tea at Nelum Pokuna with President Maithripala Sirisena as the Chief Guest recently where the contributions and achievements made by individuals and companies in several

The Sri Lanka Embassy in Russia said that they are working closely with both the Russian government and Sri Lankan tea sector stakeholders to find a way out of the temporary ban imposed by Russia on Sri Lanka tea imports.

In an interview from Russia, Ambassador Dr. Saman Weerasinghe stressed that the ban on Sri Lanka tea exports to Russia was temporary.

Dr. Saman Weerasinghe

Rosselkhoznadzor, Russian agricultural safety watchdog, introduced restrictions on the import of plant products (including tea) from Sri Lanka following the detection of a single agricultural pest (Trogoderma granarium) in the packaging material of a consignment of tea shipped from Sri Lanka.

Dr. Weerasinghe said that this pest had created havoc in Russia decades ago and the Minister of Agriculture has invested millions of roubles to get over it. “So naturally they (Russia) are worried and this ban is a precautionary measure until such time Russia is satisfied that this would not be repeated again.”

He said that the ‘bug’ was detected in a bulk tea export container from Sri Lanka.

“We have identified the company in which this ‘bug’ was detected and have informed Sri Lankan authorities to take necessary action.”

Russia has also said that they will accept all tea that is in mid sea and the deadline for the temporary halt is December 18. Tougher quarantine measures would be adopted to inspect this tea before being released to the market in Russia.

Dr. Weerasinghe stressed that this ‘ban’ was not politically motivated by Russia and added that both countries enjoy close relations. “This was why President Maithripala Sirisena too visited Russia this year.”

Sri Lankan team headed by Minister of Plantation Industries, Navin Dissanayake too will visit Russia to talk about this issue. Arrangements and schedules for their meetings are currently being sorted out.

Plantation Industries Minister Navin Dissanayake was in Russia to launch a major tea promotion campaign in the Soviet states and held discussions with Russia’s Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev earlier this year.

“We have sought a meeting with the Russian authorities and the Minister has said he will travel on any date to swiftly address this issue,” Sri Lanka Tea Board Chairman, Rohan Pethiyagoda said on Friday.

Meanwhile a statement by the Plantations Industries Ministry said that the Ministry and the Sri Lanka Tea Board are working very closely with all the relevant agencies of government, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Commerce, to restore normal trade between the two countries as soon as possible.

The statement added that the present case is an isolated incident and in any case, not a reflection on the quality of Ceylon tea.

Meanwhile, an official from Sri Lanka Tea Board said that the questionable bug would have remained in the container after reuse. “This bug has never been associated with tea.”

Tea Exporters Association said that the government must come forward to settle this issue soon as Russia purchases about 40 million kilos of tea per year from Sri Lanka which is almost 40% of total exports.

According to tea export statistics, from January to October this year, Russia has been Sri Lanka’s second largest importer of Ceylon tea after Turkey while Iraq and Iran secure the third and fourth positions.

A dance performance at the event

 


 

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