Sri Lanka says tea exports earned record billion dollars

Feb 7, 2008 (AFP) – Sri Lanka earned a record one billion dollars from tea exports last year despite a drop in volumes, the island’s tea board said Thursday. Sri Lanka’s high quality aromatic teas are made with tender leafs and buds of the plant botanically known as Camellia Sinenis.

Sri Lanka, the world’s largest exporter of tea after Kenya, earned 1.03 billion dollars in 2007, compared to 881.2 million dollars in 2006, the Sri Lanka Tea Board said.

“This is the first time our exports have surpassed a billion dollars in the 141-year-old tea industry,” the board said.

In volume terms, exports of Sri Lankan tea known as “Pure Ceylon Tea” fell to 311.75 million kilos (686 million pounds) in 2007, down from 327.41 million kilos (720 million pounds) a year earlier.

Russia and former Soviet republics were the largest market for Sri Lankan tea and accounted for nearly a fifth of the total tea exports.

“Liberalisation of tea markets such as Iran, Iraq and Libya will boost demand for Ceylon Tea this year,” commodity brokers Asia Siyaka said.