Sri Lanka earns more by selling less tea

Aug 2, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s tea export volumes fell by 10 percent in the first six months of this year, but earnings rose marginally by three percent, a commodity broker said Thursday. Sri Lanka, which is better known for its high quality aromatic tea known by the country’s previous name Ceylon, is made with tender leafs and buds of the plant botanically known as Camellia sinenis. Tea, Sri Lanka’s main export commodity, earned 439 million dollars from January to June this year, a three percent increase compared to the same period last year.

However, the volume of “Pure Ceylon Tea” exported fell to 136.9 million kilogrammes (301.18 million pounds) in the first six months of this year, down from 153 million kilogrammes last year, Asia Siyaka brokers said.

The island’s total tea production slipped 12.7 percent to 143.63 million kilogrammes over first six months of 2006. Much of the fall was due to strikes by the 400,000 workers in the industry demanding higher pay.

The total tea crop last year was 310.8 million kilogrammes.

Sri Lanka’s record 2005 harvest of 317.2 million kilgrammes made it the world’s number-four producer behind China, India and Kenya. Sri Lanka is the

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