Sri Lanka tea exports fall sharply in April

June 06, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s shipments of tea, its main commodity export, fell sharply in April compared with a year ago, as production was hit by severe drought earlier in the year, brokers said. Asia Siyaka said Sri Lanka earned 34.4 billion rupees from tea exports up to April 2009, down 19 percent from the same 2008 period.

In US dollar terms exports earnings were down even more – 27 percent to 300 million dollars compared with the same period last year.

But a positive aspect of this year™s tea export performance is the high level of value addition during the period January-April 2009, Asia Siyaka Commodite said.

During these four months value added exports have been around 45 percent of the total while last year it was 41 percent. Tea exports fell 44 percent to 14.5 million kilos in April 2009 from 26.1 million kilos in the same month in 2008.

“This is the lowest quantity since 2005, when 14.8 million kilos were shipped,” brokers Asia Siyaka Commodities said.

“The April export volume is a reflection of the poor quantities produced and sold during the first quarter, as a result of dry weather in all growing districts.”

The average quantity for April is around 2