The demand for Ceylon tea in several European countries recorded a drop following the cancellation of quality certification given to local tea, industry sources said.
Tea exporting neighboring country and several NGOs are carrying out a conspiratorial campaign to undermine Ceylon tea at time where its demand gathering momentum, a group of plantation sector executives claimed.
A world wide publicity campaign and social media campaign are now being carried out that the island nation has failed to improve the living standard of tea plantation works there by violating good worker practices.
Further, the US embargo imposed on Iran has greatly affected the Sri Lanka tea exports to that country, they said.
30 present of Sri Lanka upcountry and low country has been rejected in tea auctions due to drop in sales to Iran, tea sector executives said adding that several plantation companies are on the verge of closing down due this reason.
In order to export tea, companies have to comply with local and foreign standards and regulations pertaining to food quality and safety.
These are usually mandatory, product standards. In this regard, tea has to comply with ISO3720 product standard for black tea.
In addition to ISO3720, the Sri Lanka Tea Board requires tea exports to comply with other product standards, including foreign matter, micro-biological contamination, heavy metal and pesticide residue limits, which are specified and monitored by the Tea Board.
International food assurance standards such as Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) and ISO22000 (Food Safety Management System) are also increasingly becoming important in the tea trade.