Sri Lanka August tea output down 5.3-pct

Standing left to right – Mr. Dinesh Jebamani (Chief Manager Liability Product Management and New Age Media – Seylan Bank), Mr.Sudesh Peiris (Senior Manager – Digital Banking Channels – Seylan Bank), Ms. S.Senevirathne (Representative of the Revenue Department – Western Province), Mr. Tilan Wijeyesekera (Deputy General Manager – Retail Banking – Seylan Bank) and Mr. Malik Wickremanayaka (Deputy General Manager – Operations – Seylan Bank)

Sept 24, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s production of black tea in August 2009 fell 5.3 percent to 23.9 million kilos from a year ago, with the shortfall coming from the high and mid-grown elevations, according to the Sri Lanka Tea Board. But production of low grown teas, which make up the bulk of the national output, increased four percent to 16.6 million kilos in August 2009 compared with the same month last year, the board’s statistics show.

The island’s tea production has been affected by drought and although crops had begun to recover, total production is still lagging behind that of last year.

Sri Lanka’s total national production in the eight months to August 2009 fell 18.7 percent to almost 181.9 million kilos from a year ago.

Production of low grown teas during January-August 2009 was down 19.2 percent to 105.9 million kilos compared with the same 2008 period.

Low grown teas are made mainly by small farmers in the island’s south and account for over 60 percent of total national output.

Teas grown in the high and mid-level elevations are largely made by regional plantations companies quoted on the Colombo stock exchange.

The shortfall in crop, coupled with the global shortage also owing to drought, h