Sri Lanka January tea crop back to normal

Feb 23, 2010 (LBO) – Production of tea, Sri Lanka’s main export crop, showed a return to normal levels in January as the industry recovered from the effects of drought and labour action that sharply reduced output last year. The Tea Board has said it expects annual tea production this year to be more than 300 million kilos after output fell to 290 million kilos in 2009. The Tea Board said total tea production in January was 26.9 million kilos, up 50 percent from the same month in 2009 when production was hit by drought and the effects of the global economic crisis.

But production in January this year is comparable with that of the same month in 2008 when 25.6 million kilos were produced.

The annual production in 2008 hit a record high of 218 million kilos.

Industry officials said the January 2009 crops was sharply lower than normal because of dry weather and reduced cropping by growers after prices collapsed with the bursting of the global commodities bubble in late 2008

Tea growers were asked by the Tea Board to reduce production as demand at the Colombo auctions by exporters fell sharply resulting in large volumes of tea remaining unsold at the time.

Tea producers are enjoying record high prices