Sri Lanka tea output down in September

Oct 22, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s production of black tea in September 2009 fell three percent to 25.5 million kilos from a year ago, according to the Sri Lanka Tea Board’s statistics.

The deficit of 42 million kilos makes up for the bulk of the global tea production shortfall that has driven up prices both at auctions as well as in consuming countries.

Tea production has been recovering from the effects of severe drought although annual output is unlikely to reach last year’s levels as the deficit is too big.

According to the Sri Lanka Tea Board, the shortfall in the September output came largely from teas in the high grown elevations, mainly by regional plantations corporations, with production of low grow teas mostly by small farmers increasing.

Production of high grown teas in the central hills in September was down 24.7 percent to 4.96 million kilos from a year ago.

High grown tea production was disrupted in September when labour unions staged a ‘go-slow’ that affected both cultivation and movement of made tea to back demands for higher pay.

Tea Board statistics also showed that production of low grown teas made mainly in the island’s south was up 5.6