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Tea problems in Sri Lanka - 1st October 2021 View All

Sri Lanka has a problem. The government wants farmers to grow organic food. Organic food grows without chemicals.

Tea is very important in Sri Lanka. Tea needs chemicals to grow well. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa made a new law. Farmers can't use chemicals.

Herman Gunaratne is a tea maker. He is worried.

Herman Gunaratne: "It is the urea and the nitrogen content that forces the growth of the tea bud and of the green leaf. Without it you can, you can expect the decline in production by as much as 50%."

Sri Lanka has another problem. The economy isn't good. Many people don't have jobs. Coronavirus is making things worse.

The government stopped buying chemicals. Now farmers can't use them. So, there'll be less tea. In Sri Lanka, millions of people work on tea farms. Gunaratne says many people won't have work.

Herman Gunaratne: "So it is going to number one, make a big dent in the foreign exchange earnings of the country. Number two, it is going to render a great part of our population unemployed and number three more and more importantly, we are going to lose the global image that we had for Ceylon Tea."

Sri Lanka's tea is famous. Sri Lanka sells a lot of tea. It gets $1.25 billion every year. Gunaratne disagrees with the new law. He thinks there will be 50 percent less tea. And more people will lose their jobs.

Herman Gunaratne: "We are not going to get 50% higher prices. And there is an extremely limited market for organic tea in the world. There is no way in which it can compensate for the decline in crop." View Less

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