Sri Lanka first quarter tea crop at a 5-year high

May 4 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s tea crop shot up to a five year high of 76.54 million kilos for the three months to March boosted by good rainfall, a commodity brokering house said Thursday. Production in March alone was up 17.5 percent to 29.14 million kilos, largely driven by a 26.1 percent growth in low grown varieties, Asia Siyaka Commodity brokers said.

Sri Lanka is one of the top tea producing countries and competes with Kenya in the world market.

Kenya’s tea sector is just rebounding from a searing drought, with production of the country’s largest export falling 41 percent to 49.47 million kilos.

The drought also dragged seen Kenya shipping 15 percent less or 75.38 million kilos of tea in the world market, Asia Siyaka said.

However, export earnings continue to suffer and the Tea Board of Kenya (TBK) said in April that the drought could see a 16 percent drop in the country’s output this year.

Sri Lanka earned 814 million dollars from tea exports last year, up from 741 million dollars in 2004, Asia Siyaka said. Tea is the island’s largest single net foreign exchange earner after remittances from Sri Lankans working overseas.