Sri Lanka tea crop falls sharply in March

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April 30, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s total tea production in March 2009 fell 44 percent to 18.2 million kilos from a year ago owing to drought and reduced crops, the Tea Board said. Tea output in the January-March 2009 period was down 41.6 percent to 48.8 million kilos from 83.5 million kilos in the same 2008 period.

Much of the fall in the first quarter came from low grown teas, which make up the bulk of the crop and which fell 46.5 percent to 27.1 million kilos from 50.7 million kg a year ago.

The amount of tea grown in the higher elevations fell by 31.3 percent while those from the medium elevations were down by 38.2 percent in the quarter compared with last year.

The sharp fall in tea output was a result of a drought that was more severe than usual early this year and the effect of efforts to curtail crops late last year.

The tea board encouraged tea producers to curtail crops towards the end of last year when prices at the Colombo auctions crashed with the bursting of the global commodities bubble and large quantities of tea could not be sold.

Prices have recovered since then and industry officials said crops are also recovering.

Sri Lanka’s tea o