COLOMBO: Sri Lankan companies participating in the recent 10th edition of Foodex Saudi showcased the country’s famous Ceylon tea to boost its presence in the Kingdom, Colombo’s envoy in Riyadh, Pakeer Mohideen Amza, told Arab News on Thursday.
Tea is one of Sri Lanka’s biggest exports and a major source of foreign currency for the country that has been mired in a financial crisis for over a year. Last year, revenue from tea exports stood at around $1.26 billion.
As the crisis-hit nation looks to attract additional foreign exchange, the tea industry has been on a global promotional campaign targeting its main export destinations, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, as the Middle East and North Africa region comprised over half of Sri Lanka’s tea exports in 2022.
Foodex Saudi, the Kingdom’s leading international exhibition for food and beverages, which was held in Riyadh from Sept. 17 to 20, saw eight Sri Lankan companies display their products.
“The objective of the participation of the Sri Lankan companies is to tell the world that Sri Lanka is the best place for the best tea,” Amza, the ambassador in Riyadh, told Arab News.
“It had been a great event for Sri Lankan companies, they were able to find opportunities in order to enhance their presence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
The Sri Lankan mission in Riyadh also held a promotional event on the sidelines of Foodex Saudi, facilitating meetings between the tea companies and potential buyers from the Kingdom and other countries.
During the event, pots of the beverage from Sri Lanka’s seven tea regions were brewed and offered to the guests to try, as exporters sought to show the unique qualities of Ceylon tea — which refers to the island’s colonial-era name.
“With the assistance of the mission, they have met importers of tea from various countries,” Amza said.
“We were able to demonstrate to the tea importers of these differences and I’m sure the opportunity of the companies that are participating. (It gave a) greater avenue for the Sri Lankan presence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”