CEO Dilmah Dilhan Fernando noted that his company had hundreds of containers stuck in different parts of the world. He noted that delays make it very hard to track shipments. Fernando also complained of a lack of consistent shipping services to popular destinations.
Fernando said, “the congestion causes shipping yards to use external yards to store containers.”
Fernando was speaking on the Friedrich Naumann Foundation organised a webinar on 15 March on the topic of the topic: Restart Asian economies: Ideas and Actions for the Tea Industry.
Fernando noted that his company was working hard to bring about traceability in the supply chain. He noted that export destinations with harmonised customs procedures like the European Union make it easier for exporters to provide their goods.
Fernando called on industry stakeholders and the regulators to create a stronger quality surveillance infrastructure.
Fernando noted the colonial structure imposed for the manufacture of tea and explained how his firm was working to create a more socially equitable production process.
Fernando said, “we will fulfil the expectations of the worker. My father made a commitment. We will do it regardless of commercial circumstances.”
Fernando criticised the overly commercial and price-cutting nature of the industry. He said that with a small price differential the companies across the industry would be able to make a significant change in terms of social empowerment and climate change.
Managing Director Luxmi Tea Rudra Chatterjee noted the diversity in tea. With many different strains of tea and multiple methods of preparation, there was ample scope for product differentiation.
Chatterjee called on stakeholders to develop tea culture locally and export it to the rest of the world as the Italians have done with coffee.
Chatterjee noted that in the instance of Olive Oil or other premium products the consumer is not averse to paying higher prices to compensate for the advertising investment by the producer. He called on tea labels to follow suit.
Chatterjee noted Dilmah’s uniqueness in the tea industry. Chatterjee said, “Dilmah is the only one of the top 10 tea brands which is a producer and are an Asian producer at that.”
Chatterjee criticised the commodification of the tea industry. With the large number of people involved in the industry at all stages, he believed the industry could bring about real social change.
This article was taken from the Daily News