Sri Lanka tea crop lowest in three years

ECONOMYNEXT – Heavy rains and poor prices have reduced Sri Lanka’s tea output this year to a three-year low, especially of low grown teas cultivated mainly by small farmers who grow the bulk of the crop.

Tea production in October 2015 fell five percent to 26.7 million kilos from last year,

Production for the January – October period was down 1.4 percent at 279.8 million kilos from last year, brokers Asia Siyaka Commodities said.

“Excessive rain and continual overcast conditions restricted growth and impeded normal agricultural practices,” they said in a report.

“Since May this year monthly production has been lower (than) 2014, with the exception of August.”

Annual 2015 production could be in the region of 334 – 336 million kilos, Asa Siyaka Commodities forecast.

Last year Sri Lanka’s total production was 338 million kilos, marginally lower than the highest-ever output of 340 million kilos in 2013.

Teas grown in the lower elevations, which make up the bulk of the crop, suffered the most, falling to a three-year low of 171 million kilos in the 10 months to October 2015 from the same 2014 period.

“Extended weak market and poor growing conditions combined to reduce production by five million kilos, down 2.7 percent,” the brokers said.

“The government green leaf and fertilizer subsidies could not make up for poor growing conditions with farmers recording smaller harvests over the last six months.” (Colombo/December 05 2015)





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