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Ceylon tea1The Tea Industry of Sri Lanka will celebrate its 150th Anniversary in 2017.

The commercial cultivation of tea commenced in 1867, fortuitously supplanting coffee, which, till then, was the country’s main cash crop, shortly thereafter devastated by a ravaging plant blight. A Scotsman named James Taylor is reputed to have developed the first commercial plantation and commenced the manufacture of Tea on Loolcondera Estate, Hewaheta. He was followed by other pioneers, who not only contributed agriculturally, but also helped create the infrastructure, which continues to facilitate the supply chain of this great Industry.For over one hundred years, the Tea Industry sustained the economy of this country and continues to contribute significantly to it.

Though, currently, eclipsed by one or two other revenue earning sources, which have emerged in more recent years, it is still one of the highest foreign exchange earners for the country, contributing over US Dollars 1.5 billion.The Tea Industry also supports approximately 20 percent of the country’s population, through direct and indirect employment, out-sourcing and dependent families, which extends to a number of ancillary industries, such as shipping, transportation, printing, packaging, etc. Additionally, tea contributes 15% of the nation’s foreign exchange earnings and generates 65% of export agriculture revenue.The Sri Lanka Tea Board, in collaboration with the Colombo Tea Traders’ Association, is organizing a number of celebratory events to coincide with this Sesquicentennial Anniversary, throughout the year 2017

. This will commence with the unveiling of a sculptured bust of James Taylor at the Head Office of the Sri Lanka Tea Board – 19th January 2017. Ceylon tea.3

 A first day cover and a series of stamps will be issued in February 2017, followed by the release of a Rs.10/- coin by the month of August, to commemorate this anniversary.

 Over the months of March to July, a series of Education Fairs will be conducted in all seven tea producing regions, to serve as an outreach to the local community in an endeavor to infuse a better understanding of the relevance and importance of the Tea Industry to the country and its career opportunities and to create an awareness of the significance of this historic event. Ceylon tea4

 An unique ‘Global Ceylon Tea Party’, hosted by the country’s Diplomatic Missions worldwide, will be held on May 18, at 5.00 p.m. in each time-zone around the world, serving fine Ceylon Teas and a specially created biscuit for the occasion by Maliban Biscuit Manufactories, the oldest biscuit manufacturer in Sri Lanka.

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