Sri Lanka tea production not seen reaching last year’s level

Sept 25, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s tea production for August was higher than the same month last year but the island is still to fully recover from the disruption in harvesting caused by a strike and bad weather, officials said. The total production for August rose 11 percent to 24.2 million kg compared with 21.8 million kg in August 2006, with the increase coming from all three elevations.

“But for the year so far we’re still well behind last year,” said Anil Cooke, senior vice president of Asia Siyaka Commodities tea brokers.

Total production in the January August 2007 period was 194.07 million kg compared with 210.09 million kg in the same 2006 period.

Tea production is 16 million kg or 7.6 percent behind last year’s output with the shortfall apparent in all three elevations high, medium and low.

Despite the increased production indicated in the statistics for August, brokers said the island’s output by year’s end was unlikely to reach the production achieved for the whole of last year.

Production was disrupted late last year when labour unions struck work to back demands for higher pay.

The strike was followed by drought that further delayed the recovery in production.

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