Sri Lanka's 'green gold’ brings wealth, health and happiness

Updated 03 February 2018
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Sri Lanka's 'green gold’ brings wealth, health and happiness

RIYADH: Sri Lanka, the fourth-largest tea producer in the world, is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the industry’s birth with the world’s largest “tea party.”

A “Global Ceylon Tea Party” was hosted at Sri Lankan missions worldwide, including its embassy in Riyadh, with government officials and tea industry representatives saluting tea’s place in the island’s history and modern economy.
Sri Lankan tea, known for generations as Ceylon tea, has a unique heritage. The industry that began as a diversification experiment in 1867 on just 19 acres of land has today expanded to supply 19 percent of global demand.
Known for its signature taste and aroma, Sri Lanka’s tea provides a major source of income for the country and is its leading employer. The island has a 5 percent share of global tea production and a 17 percent share of world tea exports.
Tea remains the backbone of the island’s economy, with annual export earnings averaging around $1.5 billion, or 15 percent of foreign exchange revenue.
With 65 percent of the export agricultural income, the tea industry contributes about 2 percent to the island’s gross domestic product. More than 2 million people are employed directly and indirectly, with 10 percent of the country’s population depending on “green gold” for its livelihood.
Sri Lanka was the first tea-producing country in the world to introduce national branding, with Ceylon tea linked to the lion logo. The brand remains a source of pride because of its global popularity and unmatchable quality.

Exceptional diversity
Although tea makes up almost 45 percent of all exports in value-added form, what makes Sri Lanka’s national product truly unique is not volume but exceptional diversity.
Tea plantations in Sri Lanka are categorized around three distinct elevations — high grown, medium grown and low grown. Teas are classified into seven agro-climatic regions, Nuwara Eliya, UdaPussellawa, Uva, Dimbulla, Kandy, Sabaragamuwa and Ruhuna, based on location.
Due to its diverse topography and climate, Sri Lanka produces an array of specialty teas with different flavors, aromas, strength, and color that are almost impossible to replicate.
Commercial secretary at the Sri Lankan Embassy in Riyadh, Gayan Rajapaksa, said the island’s tea was sold to the Saudi customers after blending it with tea from other countries.

High standards
Ceylon tea is also the cleanest tea in the world in terms of pesticide residues, according to the ISO Technical Committee responsible for quality assurance.
Sri Lanka was the first country to achieve the “Ozone Friendly Tea” label recognized under the Montreal Protocol Treaty and is the proud owner of the first Ethical Tea Brand of the World recognized by the UN Global Compact.
The lion trademark symbolizing pure Ceylon tea pre-packed in Sri Lanka has been registered in more than 100 countries by the Sri Lanka Tea Board, the government organization regulating and promoting the industry.
Retail packs that carry the trademark are guaranteed by the tea board to consist of 100 percent pure Ceylon tea pre-packed at source and conforming to standards set by the authorities.


Role of Saudi Arabian Military Industries to enrich Kingdom’s defense capabilities hailed

Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa visits Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) pavilion at the Bahrain International Air Show 2018 on Thursday. (SPA)
Updated 30 min 37 sec ago
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Role of Saudi Arabian Military Industries to enrich Kingdom’s defense capabilities hailed

  • The king praised SAMI’s rapid success, and expressed his admiration for the achievements
  • Al-Osaimi: The UON pilot service was launched last week on a Saudi Arabian Airlines flight from Riyadh to Geneva

JEDDAH: Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa on Thursday visited the Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) pavilion at the Bahrain International Air Show 2018. The king was accompanied by Chechnya’s president, Ramzan Kadyrov.
SAMI’s team gave a detailed presentation on the achievements and future plans of Saudi Arabia’s military industries. Initiatives launched by SAMI to develop the sector are part of efforts to realize Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s goal of localizing 50 percent of Saudi military spending by 2030.
King Hamad and Kadyrov were shown the first model of the Avante 2200 corvette. Five Avante 2200 corvettes and combat management systems are being built for the Saudi Ministry of Defense.
The king praised SAMI’s rapid success, and expressed his admiration for the achievements and development projects of the military and air industries in Saudi Arabia.
The three-day show, held under the patronage of King Hamad, runs until Friday at the Sakhir Air Base in southern Bahrain. It was officially opened by Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, the king’s personal representative and chairman of the event’s organizing committee.
SAMI CEO Dr. Andreas Schwer said: “Our participation in the Bahrain International Air Show is aimed at highlighting SAMI’s growing military capabilities and showcasing our achievements in enhancing self-sufficiency in defense capabilities.”
“We are keen to take advantage of the unique opportunities offered by the show, and the promising investment prospects in Saudi Arabia’s booming military industries, in order to support the Kingdom’s vision of localizing more than 50 percent of military-equipment spending by 2030.”
Civil aviation
Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation also signed a strategic partnership agreement with technology company Taqnia Space with the aim of developing cooperation in a number of areas and strengthening Saudi Arabia’s position in the field of aviation, regionally and internationally, in accordance with Vision 2030.
The agreement was co-signed by the authority’s chairman, Abdul Hakim Al-Tamimi, and Taqnia Space CEO Abdullah Al-Osaimi, on the sidelines of the airshow.
GACA has partnered with Taqnia Space to issue licenses for the installation of satellite communication systems on civil aircraft in the Middle East and North Africa, similar to the licenses issued by international organizations, and organize international expos in Saudi Arabia where passengers can try out new in-flight satellite and entertainment services.
Al-Osaimi said that this will create business opportunities and strengthen the Kingdom’s position in these specialized fields that offer advanced technologies related to civil aviation safety.
He added: “The UON pilot service was launched last week on a Saudi Arabian Airlines flight from Riyadh to Geneva. This service, which will be available for passengers in the next few days, offers high-speed internet, and 3G and 4G services, in addition to live television broadcasts.”
Al-Tamimi said that the importance of the agreement lies in its contribution to promoting the construction of modern air-transport systems and infrastructure, and the development of effective procedures and practices to ensure a high-quality and safe flight environment that will make the authority a leader in civil aviation at the regional and international levels.
The agreement will help to achieve the aims of Vision 2030 and support the objectives of the National Transformation Program (NTP) 2020 through the development of aviation services to ensure excellence of performance, he added.