Sri Lanka tea small farmers raise output concerns

Feb 10, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s tea small holders, who produce the bulk of the crop, have said rising costs of production, mainly driven by higher labour costs, is making the sector unsustainable. Our production costs have increased after the latest plantation sector wage increase in 2010. So to remain profitable farmers are cutting down on good agricultural practices like investing in land development. This means we can expect our yields to drop in the future, said Ratnayake.

A majority of Sri Lanka™s tea small holdings are below one acre.

Many tea small holdings are half acre or quarter acre plots and are a primary source of income for families.

Sri Lanka has about 400,000 tea small holders who support close to 2 million people. The tea small holders, who account for 76 percent of the national tea output, might be forced to compromise on agricultural standards, reducing yields in the future, a statement said.

Right now the tea small holders, who are the mainstay of Sri Lanka™s tea industry, are facing some serious problems that will directly contribute towards reducing the national tea output in the future,” said Neville Ratnayake, chairman of the Sri Lanka