Sri Lanka rains, floods affect low country tea crop

June 03, 2008 (LBO) – Floods caused by heavy rains in southern Sri Lanka have disrupted cropping on tea plots but no serious shortfall is anticipated unless the rains continue, trade officials said. “Lasting damage is not anticipated unless earthslips cover tea bushes.”

He said he expects floods to subside in 2-3 days unless the heavy rains continue.

Trade officials said the continuous rains will affect production as bushes would not yield the ‘flush’ – the freshly-picked tea leaves, usually comprising of the bud and first two leaves of the growing tea shoot. They said tea bushes and roads leading to cultivations were under water in parts of the southern districts of Galle, Matara and Kalutara which produce low grown teas which are much in demand in the Middle East and Russia.

“There’s heavy damage in tea growing areas in Galle district like Hiniduma, Neluwa and Pelawatte,” said S D Nandasena, general manager of the Tea Small Holders’ Development Authority.

Low grown teas are produced mainly by smallholders.

Some damage was also reported in the adjoining district of Matara but the severity was not clear as telephones were not working, he said.

The floods came after sev