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Sri Lanka tea industry facing up to new challenges

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Since the Spanish flu infected close to a third of the, then global population a century ago, not even the First & Second World Wars could bring about an enormous tragedy on the human race until the COVID 19 pandemic hit all corners of Planet Earth. The New Corona Virus cases are already racing towards the 50 million mark and the death toll exceeding 1.2 million people with just the Second Wave of the pandemic beginning to spread all over the world like a wild fire aided by the natural wind.

The in tropical & mystic island of Sri Lanka blessed with abundance of rich culture and fertile nature, rain forest, daily direct sunlight of at least 6 hours throughout the year resulting in a conducive climate, soil and weather ideal for growing tea.

Sri Lanka in entirety and the tea industry in particular overcame the First Wave of the COVID 19 during the 2nd Quarter of 2020 with admirable success. The immediate transformation from an “outcry system” to an online electronic Colombo Tea Auction after more than 125 years and the continuation of the total value chain mechanism from the growing, plucking, manufacturing, selling at the weekly auctions, blending & packaging, and finally marketing & exporting branded, packeted or bulk form during the lockdown by defining the tea industry and its export process as an essential service saved the day for “Ceylon Tea”. Though the tea crop has declined over 10% due to a number of causes, the tea prices fetched at the Colombo Tea Auction has in fact appreciated by 15% up to end of September 2020 vis-a-vis same period of last year from Rs 542 per kilo to Rs 624 per kilo.

Today, the world has reached a crucial milestone where every nation is searching for human immunity boosting methods to counter the Corona Virus infection until an effective vaccination is introduced to the global masses. In that context, drinking warm beverages and inhaling hot vapour is generally believed to be helpful. This is where the Tea Research Institute of Sri Lanka (TRI) in collaboration with the analytical laboratory of SLTB has conducted a literature survey and further studies on “Theaflavins in Black Tea” and concluded black tea may be helpful in controlling and flushing out the viruses. The TRI has released a scientific publication under the topic “Antiviral properties of Tea” where it has been noted that drinking Black Tea helps to fight viruses. It could theoretically draw a parallel to a Taiwan research study (original article published in 2005) where the chemical structure of 64 compounds had been bioinformatically modelled against SARS – COVID – 2.

The hypothesis developed by the scientists that “Theaflavins” an antioxidant polyphenol richly found in Black Tea could potentially inhibit an enzyme from the Corona family and increase the human immunity, will need further investigations to establish authenticity. Nevertheless, “Theaflavins” is proven to be a compound which could alleviate respiratory diseases and open air passages in the human lungs for the facilitation of breathing. Further, the laboratory scientists at Sri Lanka Tea Board suggest, that frequent consumption of hot Black Tea (without sugar & milk) and inhaling the tea fumes is supportive of flushing viruses trapped in the throat and nasal area. This reaction helps in improving the immune capacity and inhibiting inflammation due to Catechins and Polyphenols contained in Black Tea. It should be mentioned here that consumption of Black Tea has not been proven medically as a treatment against the COVID 19 until extensive research studies are conducted with human trials. 

In this connection, the Sri Lanka tea industry stakeholders have moved rapidly towards online meetings, lively discussions and working group sessions with the international clientele through virtual platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom conferences. All promotional campaigns for Ceylon Tea for the future are being focused through digital and social media against the backdrop of a pandemic lockdown in many global destinations. Utilizing the power of social media applications such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, We chat etc through an identified panel of Influences, Bloggers, Authentic Opinion Makers and a few Celebrities Ceylon Tea clips, videos, messages, electronic banners etc are to be aired within the global campaign. It will be reinforced through search engines marketing availing Google, Yandex, Baidu and other effective digital media as per the respective countries of operation. This strategy is to be combined with other necessary upgrades on the supply chain mechanism. 

Hasitha de Alwis Consultant 

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Wurth Lanka makes strategic appointments in pursuit of Vision 2025

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Wurth Lanka (Pvt) Ltd – the leading German based automotive car care partner recently promoted two of its long two standing employees Suranga Kekulawalage and Tharindu Rajapaksha to lead its Automotive Division and Automotive New Business Unit respectively as it focuses on achieving the Wurth Vision 2025. Established in the year 2000, the Automotive division is Wurth Lanka’s first, largest and most profitable business unit recording the highest YoY growth.

“As we celebrate our 20th anniversary of being the No. 1 trusted partner for the automotive aftermarket sector, we take great pleasure in appointing Suranga and Tharindu to lead these two dynamic divisions of Wurth Lanka to achieve our ambitious Vision 2025 targets ” said Rohan Amirthiah-Chief Executive Officer/Managing Director, Wurth Lanka (Pvt) Ltd.

“A key factor of our success in the past 20 years is the trust and confidence that we placed in our leaders and their respective teams to take the company forward to achieve our goals. We are confident that these two leaders will lead Wurth to our Vision 2025 goals” he added.

Suranga Kekulawalage joined With Lanka 14 years ago in in 2006 as a Trainee Sales Representative and rapidly progressed in his career having been promoted as Sales Consultant in 2010, Area Sales Manager in 2013 and Area Sales Manager-Key Accounts & Special Projects in 2017. He won the SLIM NASCO Award for the “Best Territory Manager” in 2015. Suranga holds an MBA from Cardiff Metropolitan University, UK (ICBT Campus) and completed his M. Sc in Strategic Marketing from the Asia e-University in 2014. He holds the title of “Certified Professional Marketer” awarded by Asia Marketing Federation and Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM). He has also completed Wurth Group’s “Learn to Lead” programme for Young Managers.

Tharindu Rajapaksha has over 15 years of experience at Wurth Lanka and started his career in 2005 as a Sales Representative. He was promoted as a Sales Executive and thereafter as a Sales Consultant. He then progressed to a Sales Consultant, Area Sales Supervisor and Area Sales Manager. He has been responsible for product marketing for the past several years and has successfully launched many new product categories. A winner of the Wurth Silver and Gold pins for his dedication and performance, Tharindu has been a winner of the Wurth 110% Club for many years. He has also participated in many of Wurth’s International Training Programmes while completing Wurth’s Learn to Lead programme for Young Managers.

 

 

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Dipped Products’ share price surges

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne

The share price of Dipped Products in the CSE surged following the  world’s largest maker of latex gloves  shutting more than half of its factories after almost 2,500 employees tested positive for the coronavirus yesterday, market analysts said.

Malaysian based  “Top Glove” will close down 28 plants in phases as it seeks to control the outbreak, authorities said. Therefore, Dipped Products’ share price moved up by 5.4 percent or Rs. 16.90 at the end of yesterday’s trading, stock market analysts said. Its shares became the most sought after stocks among investors and its shares started trading at Rs. 314.10 and at the end of the trading it shot up to Rs. 331.

Amid those developments CSE activities were positive because two major listed companies have announced their annual dividend payment for their shareholders. Those companies were Kelani Tyres, which announced its interim dividend of Rs. 5 per share and Melstacorp’s  Rs. 2.50 per share. These two announcements  gave some impetus to the CSE yesterday, stock market analysts said.

At the end of the day both indices moved upwards. The All Share Price Index went up by 54.13 points and S and P SL20 by 18.88 points. The turnover stood at Rs. 2.5 billion with four crossings. Those crossings were reported in Lion Brewery, where 243,000 shares crossed for Rs. 127.7 million, its share price traded at Rs. 525, Dipped Products 289,000 shares crossed for Rs. 94 million, its share price traded at Rs. 330, JKH 400,000 shares crossed for Rs. 68.7 million, per share value being Rs. 146.80 and Distilleries 100 million shares crossed for Rs. 20 million; its share price trading at Rs. 20.

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Dialog Axiata’s Genie partners Eat Me Global to facilitate customers with secure e-payments

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In light of the health and safety mandates given by government health authorities to minimise the public’s exposure to COVID-19, Genie, Sri Lanka’s first PCI-DSS-certified payment app, powered by Dialog Axiata PLC, Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider, recently facilitated grocery and food delivery platform Eat Me Global with a seamless solution for quick and secure online payments.

Partnering over 150 restaurants and supermarkets, Eat Me Global enables customers to order their favourite food and produce online and have it delivered to their doorstep. On downloading the Eat Me Global app, Genie customers of the platform will be enabled with the option of using the Genie login to perform their payments while non-Genie customers can store their Credit/Debit Card on the Eat Me Global app which uses the PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) certified Genie back-end for card storage. Once the card is stored customers can use the ‘One-Click-Pay’ option, which eliminates the need of entering card details for every purchase. Contactless delivery is then ensured once the successful payment is done. One-Click-Pay is an effective and secure alternative when transferring sensitive information, adding an extra level of security to credit and debit card payments and fast becoming a catalyst in fighting fraud whilst creating a seamless payment process.

Speaking on this integration, Group Chief Digital Services Officer of Dialog Axiata PLC, Renuka Fernando said “Genie is pleased to partner the one-stop supermarket hub, Eat Me Global. This partnership will facilitate customers with doorstep delivery of food and groceries whilst also enabling our partner merchants to adapt, change and thrive with cutting-edge tokenization technology in a new normal. Genie remains committed in supporting our partner merchants and customers alike with enhanced e-payment security and a convenient method for remote transactions and cashless payments – a catalyst for surviving and succeeding in the face of COVID-19”.

With reference to this partnership, Jude Kumar- CEO of Eat Me Global said “We want our customers to feel safe and have a seamless fast payment checkout when purchasing their groceries and food via our app, Genie has immensely helped enhance and simplify the payment experience with guaranteed safety”

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