Tea production in Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon, is of high importance to the Sri Lankan economy and the world market. The country is the world's third largest producer of tea and the industry is one of the country's main sources of foreign exchange and a significant source of income for laborers, with tea accounting for 15% of the GDP, generating roughly $700 million annually. In 1995, Sri Lanka was the world's leading exporter of tea, (rather than producer) with 23% of the total world export, but it has since been surpassed by Kenya. The tea sector employs, directly or indirectly over 1 million people in Sri Lanka, and in 1995 directly employed 215,338 on tea plantations and estates. The humidity, cool temperatures, and rainfall in the country's central highlands provide a climate that favors the production of high quality tea. The industry was introduced to the country in 1867 by James Taylor, the British planter who arrived in 1852.
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