“Raising exports of processed teas and gaining some control over the tea marketing systems in consuming countries would ensure that a greater part of the value added would go to the producer and may result in higher standard teas”, he said.

He said that it would be difficult for producers to compete in marketing retail teas as they would face competition from well-established transnationals, but they should seek to gain some control of the marketing system by buying shares in the transnational corporations.

“I had not heard of Mr. Merril J. Fernando when I did my thesis or of Dilma as a brand as a student. Today, Sri Lanka is on the map of value-added teas, and Dilmah has become a global brand in 100 plus countries, which is a research student’s dream fulfilled”, he added.

As a member of Parliament, I have personally acquainted myself with this individual, the MJF Charitable Foundation, and the foundation’s headquarters in Morauwa.