IMF hails digital transformation of Sri Lankan tea industry

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has lauded the transformation of Sri Lankan tea auction to a digital platform, thus moving from the 125 years old tradition of the weekly physical auction, reported Colombopage

Mar 12, 2021
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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has lauded the transformation of Sri Lankan tea auction to a digital platform, thus moving from the 125 years old tradition of the weekly physical auction, reported Colombopage.

“Innovators around the world are responding to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic with creative digital solutions,” the IMF said highlighting Sri Lanka’s innovation to fight the pandemic’s disruption.

“The pandemic disrupted Sri Lanka’s historic tea industry, as live tea auctions could no longer be held. Technology helped update a 125-year old tradition in a matter of days, saving a vital economic sector,” the report said.

Ten percent of Sri Lankans derive an income from the tea industry, which generated more than $1.2 billion in export revenues in 2020. The sector forms the backbone of the country’s economy by employing millions. 

For more than 20 years, the industry had been trying to adopt some kind of technological solution; but for them, it took a global pandemic to force a quick and swift migration to a digital platform.

A team comprising the Sri Lanka Tea Board, technical experts, the government, brokers, auctioneers, and others came together to find a solution. Any further delay in the migration, they claimed, would have cost millions of jobs in the country.

CICRA Holdings, a local IT solution company, developed the system and worked with brokers to interpret the dynamics of in-person bidding and with deep knowledge of tea categories and grades.

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