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Sri Lanka June tea output down 14.3 pct on heavy rain

COLOMBO, July 27 (Reuters) – Sri Lanka’s tea output in June fell 14.3 percent from a year earlier because of heavy rain the previous month, the state-run Tea Board said on Wednesday.

Production in the first six months has fallen by 11.1 percent.

"There was heavy rain in May and that is the main reason for the fall," S. A. Siriwardena, director general at the Sri Lanka Tea Board, told Reuters.

Siriwardena added that the island nation would miss its full-year target of 338 million kg.

"There can be a 5-10 percent shortfall against last year’s total production," Siriwardena said. "There are issues with fertiliser and the government’s ban on some pesticides. All these
will have an impact on the production."

Sri Lanka’s 2015 tea output fell 2.7 percent to 329 million kg from the previous year and missed forecasts for the second consecutive year because of heavy rains.

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

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