ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s tea smallholders are finding fertilizer to be too expensive despite prices falling from last year’s highs, Sri Lanka Tea Board Chairman Niraj de Mel said.
As the average price of a bag of fertilizer soared to 40,000 rupees and above by July in 2022, some tea exporters with contacts in Russia and Iran were able to source fertilizer and prices started to fall, he said.
“Smallholders still find the bag of fertilizer around 9,000 to 10,000 rupees higher, six times of what they had been used to,” de Mel told the members of the Planters’ Association of Sri Lanka at the group’s annual meeting.
Small holders were also offered the interest free loan to help apply fertilizer.
But only around 45 to 50 percent of smallholders have opted for this loan scheme, he said.
“But it is not the same with the smallholder. I would say only about 45 to about 50 percent of the smallholders have taken on the interest-free loans that we have begun to pay from this year,” he said.
“The result is we only have a marginal increase in production.”
In August Sri Lanka’s high and mid-grown tea production went up, but low growns fell.
Some areas in Sri Lanka’s South also faced dry conditions in August. (Colombo/Sept25/2023)