Colombo, Oct 30 (IANS): The Sri Lankan government said that it will provide free tea plants to any grower who wishes to engage in tea plantation from next year aimed at boosting growth of the sector.
Plantations Minister Ramesh Pathirana told a media briefing that it takes nearly four years for the tea bushes to produce yield, therefore the growers often become discouraged in engaging with the tea industry, reports Xinhua news agency.
"The growers have come forward to cultivate tea adopting the new system. By adopting this plantation method, it will be possible to make a revolutionary change in the tea industry within the next three years," the Minister said.
He said tea should be grown on a fresh fertile land, tea plants will be provided free of charge and financial assistance will also be provided for land preparation from next year to encourage tea planting.
"We must now turn to new methods. Instead of manual tea plucking, we should focus on tea plucking machines. Many countries in the world adopt such new technologies in tea plantations," Pathirana said.
"We hope to use the barren lands that are not currently used for tea planting when moving towards new plantation methods. Steps will be taken to implement this project from the beginning of next year," he added.
Tea made up 12 per cent of Sri Lanka's export revenue in 2020.
Tea production is one of the main sources of foreign exchange for the island nation. It employs, directly or indirectly, over 1 million people.