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History of Tea plantations in Ceylon

Updated: Dec 22, 2022

History of tea Plantations in Ceylon
History of tea Plantations in Ceylon

The history of tea plantations in Ceylon stretches all the way back to 1867, when James Taylor became the first person to successfully cultivate tea in the country. Since then, tea production has become one of Ceylon's biggest industries, with the country now being one of the world's largest exporters of tea.

The climate and terrain in Ceylon are ideally suited to growing tea, and today there are around 3,000 tea plantations in operation across the country. These plantations employ hundreds of thousands of workers, many of whom are from rural areas and have few other employment options. Working on a tea plantation is hard work, but it is also an important source of income for many families.

The tea industry has been through some tough times in recent years, due to a combination of factors including over-production, falling prices, and competition from cheaper teas from other countries. However, Ceylon's tea plantations are still going strong and the country's tea exports continue to be an important part of the economy.

Timeline of Tea Plantations in Sri Lanka

19th century: The British who ruled Sri Lanka at the time introduced tea plantations to the country in order to boost the economy.

1824: The first tea plant arrived in Sri Lanka from China.

1839: The first commercial tea plantation was set up in Loolecondera, Kandy.

1867: Tea exports from Sri Lanka began.

1920s: Tea production in Sri Lanka began to increase rapidly, making it one of the largest producers of tea in the world.

Today: Tea plantations continue to be a major industry in Sri Lanka, with the country producing over 300 million kilograms of tea per year.

Sri Lankan Tea plantations and Impact on Sri Lankan Economy

Tea production in Sri Lanka has a long history, dating back to 1867 when tea plants were first introduced to the country. Tea plantations quickly became established in the central hills of Sri Lanka, where the climate was suited to tea cultivation. The industry rapidly expanded in the following decades, with tea becoming one of Sri Lanka's most important export crops by the early 20th century.

Today, Sri Lanka is one of the world's leading producers and exporters of tea. Black teas from Sri Lanka are particularly prized for their quality and flavour, and are sought after by tea connoisseurs around the globe. The Sri Lankan tea industry is an important source of foreign exchange, earning over US$1.5 billion in export revenue in 2018.

The tea sector is also a significant employer in Sri Lanka, with over one million people employed in tea plantations and related industries, accounting for 2% of the country's workforce. This includes around 500,000 workers on tea plantations, most of whom are women. In addition to direct jobs in the industry, the sector also supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in related industries such as transportation and packaging.

The Sri Lankan tea industry has come under pressure in recent years, due to a combination of factors such as declining tea prices, rising production costs and increased competition from other countries. In response to these challenges, the Sri Lankan government has introduced a number of initiatives to support the industry, including financial assistance for plantation owners and subsidies for tea exports.

Despite these challenges, the Sri Lankan tea industry remains an important part of the country's economy and is likely to continue to play a significant role in the years ahead.

Sri Lanka's rich history of tea plantations is fascinating. The country's ideal climate and soil make it one of the best places in the world to grow tea. If you're ever in Sri Lanka, be sure to visit one of the many tea plantations and learn more about this important part of the country's history.


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