Sri Lanka tea trade says expects short quality season

Mar 19, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s tea industry expects a short ‘Western quality season’ this year with teas that had the desired quality picking up in price at recent auctions as volumes fell, officials said. “We might have a late season – there are signs of teas brightening up,” said Dhamitha Perera, chairman of the Planters’ Association which represents corporate tea producers.
“But it may be a short season.”

However, overall crops this year have been better than last year when production was hit by drought and labour problems, he told LBO.

The ‘Western quality season’ runs from around January to March when teas grown on the western slopes of the central hills produce their best quality.

These teas fetch high prices at the Colombo auctions, helping to increase earnings for companies having to cope with high production, especially labour, costs..

But this year unusually hot, dry weather had delayed the season with only a few days having the ideal conditions.

However, brokers said some teas at recent auctions had shown signs of quality and fetched higher prices.

“The result of a few days of ideal weather conditions, conducive for quality manufacture in the past 10 days from the