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Industry News

  -Sri Lanka to offer world's biggest online tea auction

  - Daily cuppa heals: tea industry

  - Forbes & Walker introduces Sri Lanka's first on-line tea sales

  - Ceylon Tea - extremely popular in Moldova

  - Iraq allocates 4.7m kg of tea to SL

Sri Lanka to offer world's biggest online tea auction

Sri Lanka will begin selling some of its tea crop online on Friday in what industry officials say could be a first step towards opening up the world's biggest tea auction.

The joint venture, between Forbes & Walker Tea Brokers (Pvt.) Ltd, one of the larger tea brokers, and Teauction.com, a firm based in India that set up India's online tea exchange, will offer teas sold in private sales outside of the weekly auction.

"Private sales are under 10 per cent of our total production," said Chrisantha Perera, chairman of Forbes & Walker.

Authorities have been wary of taking the whole auction online, but feasibility studies on electronic trading were being done by Sri Lankan tea authorities officials said. Private sales held by brokers had, however evolved as traders wanted to cut down the time taken for the completion of a sale through the auction.

Auction trades, generally for bulk teas, take three weeks, while a seller could expect payment for a private sale in one week.

"The benefit to sellers of an online sale is that it will cover a wider range of buyers," Perera said.

International buyers will have access to information on the trades through the Internet at the site www.forbesteauction.com.

The Times of India, May 18, 2001

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Daily cuppa heals: tea industry

Tea could find new markets from health-conscious individuals, if industry manages to convince the public that tea heals.

Brooke Bond's latest campaign on 'Tea & Health' has touched here, bringing with it a range of facts that shows your cup of tea as something that can even fight heart disease.

Drinking three to four cups of tea each day may help to keep the heart-surgeon away, if one is to go by the Bangalore-based Tea & Health Information Centre from Bangalore, a venture of tea multinational Unilever's Indian affiliate product Brooke Bond.

Citing recent research from Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, the campaign says a new women's study reports that drinking tea may help maintain a healthy heart.

It found that Dutch women drinking only a few cups of tea per day had significantly reduced risk of severe atherosclerosis -- a key factor contributing to coronary heart disease.

Tea is one of the richest natural sources of antioxidants, said Dr PR Krishnaswamy, the director of the Bangalore-based Manipal Hospital Diagnostic and Laboratory Services. Krishnaswamy was in Goa specifically to address the press on the benefits of tea.

Tea, second only to water as the most popular beverage worldwide, is currently a hot topic in nutrition research, he noted.

Large areas of the globe are currently tea-drinking regions, including the two most-populous countries, China and India. In the former, green-tea is favoured.

Krishnaswamy, however, conceded: "We should not create an impression that tea is a medicine, or a magic bullet. It should be part of our diet. It can't obviously be taken as a pill or injection, and hope that (heart problem) goes away."

He stressed that tea should be taken along with a healthier, smoking-free and stress-controlled lifestyle with adequate exercise.

India is a large tea-consuming country, he said, and tea has been known in China and Japan for thousands of years, and in this country for over a couple of hundred years, he said.

Both black and green tea contain high levels of flavonoids, the antioxidants responsible for the potential health attributes and distinctive flavours or colours of varied teas.

Dr Krishnaswamy highlighted the role of antioxidants -- which play a useful protective role in scavenging free radicals. Red wine was also very helpful in antioxidant activity, followed by black and red tea, he cited figures to point out. ()

Business Standard, May 11 2001

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Forbes & Walker introduces Sri Lanka's first on-line tea sales

Keeping pace with the e-commerce revolution, Sri Lanka's tea industry took another giant step this week, with the introduction of the country's first on-line tea sales by Forbes and Walker Limited, in association with Teauction.com, the global pioneer in business-to-business portals for the tea trade.

The two companies formed a BOI-approved joint venture to create and operate Internet-based point-and-click electronic private sales for tea, on the guidelines approved by the Sri Lanka Tea Board and to be conducted in accordance with the existing bylaws and conditions for the sale of tea formulated by the Colombo Tea Traders Association (CTTA).

The joint venture Forbes Teauction.com (Pvt) Ltd., will host the weekly private offers of Forbes & Walker Tea Brokers (Pvt) Ltd., at its website forbesteauction.com providing a transparent, speedy and efficient process that will make private sales easier for the buyer and more rewarding for the seller, Forbes and Walker Chairman, Chrisantha Perera said.

The first on-line auction will be held on May 21.

He said all buyers and sellers operating at the Colombo Tea Auction would be eligible to be registered with the site. Those who wish to use the site will be provided confidential user names and passwords that will enable them to access the sales floor, view the teas, make their offers, monitor the status of their offers, and receive confirmation of sales. As in the existing private sale procedure, prospective buyers would be sent samples of the teas they are interested in, and the compulsory panel certification would be obtained for all sales.

Ketan Desai, Head of International Marketing for the Calcutta-based Teauction.com Ltd., said the introduction of on-line private sales in Colombo was a significant development for the global tea industry, because Colombo is the world's largest auction centre.

There are more than 200 buyers operating in Colombo, and Forbes & Walker sells more than 65 millions kilograms of tea annually, accounting for an overall market share of about 22 per cent, he said. "It is most appropriate that Forbes & Walker is the first Sri Lankan tea broker to be hosted on the site, because it is one of the largest broking firms and is generally number one in private sales," Mr. Desai said.

He said that although www.forbesteauction.com is owned by a joint venture involving Forbes & Walker, other tea brokers who wish to have their offers hosted on the site could also do so, by paying the required fee to the joint venture. In India, where Teauction.com set up the world's first digital tea exchange in March 2000, weekly on-line sales have been successfully conducted and the company is in the process of exploring the possibility of setting up similar exchanges in Bangladesh, Indonesia and Kenya, Mr. Desai added.

The Daily News Wednesday, 16 May 2001

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Ceylon Tea - extremely popular in Moldova

The Ceylon Tea Bureau in Moscow, the overseas representative office of the Sri Lanka Tea Board organised a meeting with leading tea importers and distributors in Moldova in collaboration with the Moldavian Chamber of Commerce and Industry at Hotel "Kodru" in Kishinev recently.

According to Upali Kahandawa, Sri Lanka's Tea Commissioner, Ceylon Tea Bureau (Moscow), India, Georgia and Russia (Krasnodar) tea had been dominating the Moldavian market for a long time. Real Ceylon Tea first appeared in Moldova in early 1990s and "Dilmah" was the first Ceylon Tea brand to enter the market. The market volume of tea is approximately 1,500 MT per annum and the consumption ratio of tea: Coffee is 65: 35 with per capita consumption of 400 gms.

Today "Ceylon Tea" is extremely popular among the consumers and the market share is estimated at 90%. Dilmah, Batik, Akbar, Impra, Olinda are the most popular Sri Lankan tea brands available on the market shelves.

Mr. Kahandawa, briefed all the participants about the Sri Lanka tea industry and opportunities available for Moldavian traders to import quality Ceylon tea from Sri Lanka. He also outlined the existing tea trade relations between the two countries. A special article prepared on history and the ongoing market situation for Ceylon tea with special interest to CIS countries, promotional leaflets and brochures of Ceylon tea were distributed among all the participants.

The Daily News Tuesday, 15 May 2001

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Iraq allocates 4.7m kg of tea to SL

Sri Lanka has been allocated 4.7 million kilos of tea under stage nine of 'Iraq oil for food programme,' an Asia Siyaka report said. The total quantity Iraq plans to import, 29.7 million kg, is 12% more than the 26.5 million kg imported under stage eight.

Iraq's tea imports have steadily increased since 20 million kg were imported under the sixth stage. Sri Lanka's share which was 20% then, has steadily declined to 16% under the last round.

Sri Lanka's allocation of 4.7 million kg under round nine, is the smallest after Indonesia (five million kg), India (eight million kg) and Vietnam a substantial 12 million kg. India has doubled its share from around four million kg over the last two tenders. "This is significant, considering that unconfirmed reports indicated multi-origin shipments from this destination previously," the report added. (PA)

The Island Friday, 11 May 2001

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