Sri Lanka tea output to November 2008 ahead of year before

Jan 07, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s tea production up to November last year was almost 300 million kilos, well ahead of the year before, according to statistics released by the Sri Lanka Tea Board.

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The increase came mainly from low grown teas, which account for the bulk of the crop, and also from high growns.

However, tea production fell sharply in the last two months of 2008 when producers cut back on plucking after prices crashed at the Colombo auctions.

The plunge in tea prices came with the collapse of the global commodities bubble.

The crash created severe cash flow problems throughout the tea trade supply chain and forced growers and factories to curtail production.

Total black tea production up to November 2008 was 299 million kilos compared with 276 million kilos in the same 2007 period, the tea board said.

Low grown tea output rose by 10 million kilos to almost 174 million kilos while high growns increased to 79 million kilos from 66 million kilos in the same period.

Low grown teas are produced mainly by small farmers in the island’s south.