New leaves in tea output despite low grown losses

Sri Lanka’s tea crop grew by a marginal 4 million kilos over 2004, despite the country’s low grown sector still recovering from the December tsunami devastation. Tea production in May at 31.5 million kilos tips 2004’s 30.4 million kilos output, but falls short of the all time high of 33.6 million kilos posted in 2002.

May’s contribution takes total tea produced for the five months to 136.3 million kilos, three percent up on 2004’s 132.5 million kilos.

Asia Siyaka Commodity Brokers reported that the year’s gain was driven by high and mid elevation estates, together increasing output by seven percent over the 2003 level.

High elevation tea production up to May accounts for 37.5 million kilos while the low grown estates have put out 25.1 million kilos.

Siyaka said low grown estates meanwhile have just about caught up with 2004 output levels and have put up 73.7 million kilos up to May, marginally lower from the 74 million kilos posted in 2004.

Industry watchers say low grown tea output would have been higher if not for the December tsunami destruction which destroyed tea estates in the Ratnapura district.

-LBO Newsdesk: lboemail@vanguardlk.com