Representing Ceylon Tea, Dilmah CEO to address on ideas and actions for the tea industry
Bringing to light the challenges faced by tea producers in India and Sri Lanka, the South Asia office of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF) has organised an Online Business Dialogue under the topic: RESTART ASIAN ECONOMIES: Ideas and Actions for the Tea Industry on 15th March 2021.
Tea is the most consumed beverage in the world, second only to water. With such large-scale use, the production of tea is dominated by a few countries. South Asia as a region is fortunate to produce high quality tea. India, Sri Lanka are among the top 5 exporters of tea in the world. There are thousands of varieties of tea and scientists believe that drinking tea has health benefits attached to it. This perception has also been a factor giving rise to tea consumption in certain parts of the world. Clinical benefits that tea can enhance immunity which can help to fight diseases.
India has produced approx. 1.2 million tonnes of tea, Sri Lanka has produced approx. 300,000 tonnes of tea.
In the year 2020, India saw a decline of 18% in its tea exports. The primary reason behind India’s shortfall in the exports was the strict lockdown which led to skiffing off of overgrown leaves across tea estates. “It resulted in an average year-on-year crop loss of 10% which, in turn, affected exports of good quality tea by around 18%” according to Mr Atul Asthana, MD and CEO, Goodricke Group. This has resulted in India losing its market in countries like Iran, Russia and even Pakistan. Pakistan is the largest importer of tea, importing tea worth over 570 million US $. In 2020, Kenya has become the main exporter of tea to Pakistan.
In Sri Lanka, the tea exports showed a decline of approx. 16% in 2020 when comparing this with 2019 for the period Jan-Jun. However, exports to China increased in 2019, with the youth in China taking a liking for Sri Lankan black tea and this trend continued in 2020. Sri Lanka also introduced the online auctions to tea in 2020.
Distinguished resource persons from the tea industry will discuss solutions and ideas to RESTART their economies and their own personal experiences of how they addressed the challenges posed by COVID-19. This interaction will allow for exchange of ideas, challenges faced by the entrepreneurs and their solutions as well as the role of the government during these trying times.
Tea has become synonymous with South Asians and with abundant tea production, South Asia is both a producer and a consumer of tea. It produces high quality tea and exports its tea across the globe. Whereby countries like India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are among the top producers of tea in the world, tea production in Nepal has not been scaled up to realise its potential.
The programme will discuss the challenges and opportunities faced by entrepreneurs in the tea industry especially during COVID and solutions. What are the lessons learnt during COVID. The programme will also discuss future prospects of the tea industry in a changing global environment.
The panelists for the programme are eminent entrepreneurs, not just from the tea industy but also actively engaged in social enterprise. Rudra Chatterjee, from India, Rudra Chatterjee is the Managing Director of Luxmi Tea, founded in 1912, is one of the world’s finest producers of tea, making 30 million kg of tea from 25 estates in India and in Rwanda. Makaibari, acquired by Luxmi in 2013, produces some of the most famous teas in the world. Rudra is an adjunct faculty at IMI and is a guest faculty in IIM Calcutta. He writes op-ed columns for The Statesman and is a guest columnist for The Telegraph. He is a TEDx speaker and was awarded the young entrepreneur award by Chief Minister of West Bengal in 2018.
Rudra served as the President of Indian Chamber of Commerce (2018-19), and is currently serving as the Chairman-Eastern Region of FICCI.
Dilhan C. Fernando, the CEO of Dilmah Tea, is also the Director of the Dilmah School of Tea – the first international school of tea. Driving innovation in tea, Dilhan has taken tea beyond a cup with Dilmah in tea mixology and gastronomy; from pioneering tea inspired dining concepts to hosting global competitions such as, the “Tea Inspiration for the 21st Century” culinary competition, he has challenged Tea Aficionados from around the world to reimagine tea as an ingredient for morning, afternoon and evening. In addition, he also manages the humanitarian and environmental outcomes of Dilmah and is the Chairman of the United Nations Global Compact in Sri Lanka, a corporate sustainability initiative by the UN.
Dilhan currently chairs the Biodiversity Sri Lanka Platform which was pioneered by Dilmah Conservation together with the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).
HNB joins CBSL to promote ‘Rata Purama LANKAQR’ campaign in Kandy
HNB PLC once again joined the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) to promote the ‘Rata Purama LANKAQR’ campaign to raise awareness and encourage the public in the Kandy district towards a cashless payment ecosystem.
HNB, together with other financial institutions and telecommunication partners, participated in the day-long event held at the Kandy City Center. The bank raised awareness regarding its LANKAQR integrated HNB SOLO payment app while onboarding merchants during the promotional campaign.
“During the early stages of the pandemic we witnessed many of our customers and members of the public seamlessly adopt our cashless and contactless payment app HNB SOLO. With COVID and the subsequent launch of the ‘Rata Purama LANKAQR’ campaign the number of users of these types of systems have increased exponentially.
“Given that the mutual vision of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and HNB is for a financially and technologically empowered Sri Lanka, HNB is proud to serve as an enthusiastic partner to roll out LANKAQR island-wide. The fact that we now have merchants in the cultural capital of Sri Lanka making this shift is another major milestone in this digitalization journey,” HNB Deputy General Manager – Retail and SME Banking, Sanjay Wijemanne said.
ComBank’s ATM network sets new records for cash dispensed during festive season
The automated teller machine (ATM) network of Commercial Bank of Ceylon dispensed a record Rs 8.818 billion on 9th and 10th April 2021, shattering the previous records for the highest and second highest cash disbursements for a 24-hour period, as Sri Lanka’s leading private bank facilitated the celebration of the Sinhala and Tamil New Year.
The disbursements of Rs 4.498 billion on April 9 and Rs 4.320 billion on the following day represented a substantial increase over the single-day values recorded in previous years.
In total, Commercial Bank dispensed Rs 41.748 billion via its ATM network between 1st and 15th April 2021 at an average of Rs 2.783 billion per day, reaffirming the indispensable role it plays in the lives of Sri Lankans, as well as the reliability and robustness of the network. On seven of these 15 days the network dispensed more than Rs 2 billion a day, and on five days disbursements exceeded Rs 3 billion a day, the Bank said.
Comprising of 890 ATMs, the network processed 2.434 million transactions over the 15 days at an average of 168,988 transactions a day, while on 9th April, the number of transactions processed totalled 233,990 at an average of 9,749 transactions per hour or 162 transactions per minute.
The first Sri Lankan bank to be listed among the Top 1000 Banks of the World and the only Sri Lankan bank to be so listed for 10 years consecutively, Commercial Bank operates a network of 268 branches in Sri Lanka. The Bank’s overseas operations encompass Bangladesh, where the bank operates 19 outlets; Myanmar, where it has a Microfinance company in Nay Pyi Taw; and the Maldives, where the bank has a fully-fledged Tier I Bank with a majority stake.
‘Ceylinco VIP Cyber Tharu’ to showcase Sri Lankan talent
Ceylinco General Insurance has announced an online competition with a novel concept to showcase Sri Lankan talent by providing a platform for them with the opportunity to win handsome cash prizes.
“This time, our effort is to organize an online competition that provides an opportunity for Sri Lankan people to display their talent and also to identify hidden talents whilst rewarding them. There will be five overall winners whose prize money will be over Rs. 1 million and each category winner will get Rs 100,000/-. Ten randomly picked voters too will receive handsome cash awards,” said Patrick Alwis, chairman CEO of Ceylinco General Insurance.
The guidelines and the criteria of the competition were announced recently through a dedicated website and other social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, twitter, You Tube as well as LinkedIn. Contestants can perform under five categories, namely, singing, dancing, instrumental performances, fashion modelling and funny videos / Standup comedy. Individuals over 18 years could perform under the individual category whilst the group category will have no age limit.
Under the group category either families or a group of friends could take part. Each entry will have to be specially recorded for this competition. Prior to recording the performance, they should download the image of the logo and have it displayed prominently in the background. Performances could be recorded using a smart phone or a video cam.
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