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Sri Lanka January tea output falls 15.3 pct y/y

Feb 20 (Reuters) – Sri Lanka’s tea output fell 15.3 percent in January due to adverse weather, poor application of fertilisers and a government ban on pesticides, the state-run Tea Board said on Monday.

"Mainly it is the weather; in addition to that, other factors like (poor application of) fertiliser and (government ban on) weedicide also impacted,"
said Sri Lanka Tea Board Director-General S.A. Siriwardena.

Siriwardena did not gave a forecast for 2017 and the board said needs to study the weather pattern before forecasting 2017 tea production.

The Indian Ocean island nation’s tea output hit a seven-year low in 2016, falling 11.1 percent in its third straight year of declining production due to
adverse weather.

Tea exports dropped to a 14-year low, broker data showed.

Tea is Sri Lanka’s top agricultural export commodity and one of the main foreign currency earners for the $82 billion economy.

Export earnings fell 5.3 percent to $1.26 billion in 2016 from $1.33 billion in 2015. Sri Lanka recorded its highest earnings of $1.63 billion in 2014.

Russia was the largest importer of Sri Lankan tea in 2016, followed by Iran and Iraq. Turkey dropped to fourth position in 2016 from second in 2015.

Export volumes to other major buyers such as the United Arab Emirates, Libya, Syria and Kuwait fell significantly last year, the broker report said.





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