Friday, 31 January 2014 00:58
By Asia Siyaka Commodities
The Sri Lanka Tea Board has confirmed annual tea production in 2013, at a highest ever 340 Mnkg, 3.6% more than the 2012 figure of 328 Mnkg. The previous record was 331 Mnkg achieved in 2010.
This year’s figure was released relatively late and would have
included most estate returns. The crop figure is an exceptional achievement considering the adverse weather that restricted production from Western High Grown districts during May to July. In the Low Country too, the weather did not follow the traditional pattern. The availability of fertiliser at subsidised rates went a long way to assist both small holders and regional plantation companies to overcome mixed growing conditions.
Additionally high tea prices for Low Country teas and the resulting rise in bought leaf prices encouraged small holders to optimise production. In fact unhealthy competition for leaf by factories and leaf collectors increased production of low quality leaf.
National Green Tea production reached an all time high of 3.69 Mnkg in 2013; up 22% on the 2012 figure of 3.03 Mnkg. CTC production was 22.4 Mnkg down on the 2012 record of 23.3 Mnkg.
It was a record year for Low Country with production reaching a highest ever 208 Mnkg well ahead of the 2012 adjusted figure of 202 Mnkg. Tea crop from this region which contributes 61% of the national harvest; has a finite capacity to grow from the current base of production.
High Grown did well to achieve 75.5 Mnkg, nominally ahead of previous year’s figure of 73.6 Mnkg, but well below the highs of 86.9 Mnkg achieved in 2002 or even the figure of 78 Mnkg produced in 2011. The elevational numbers for 2013 YoY 2012 were propped up by improved production from the eastern slopes of the central hills; that had an extended dry spell mid 2012.
Mid Growns were similarly boosted by better growing conditions in Eastern growing districts and rose 7% from 52 to 56 Mnkg.
Agro climatic districts
In the Low Country the sub district of Ratnapura made the biggest contribution of 56 Mnkg, nominally lower than the 2012 figure of 57 Mnkg. Galle followed with an improved performance from 44 to 48 Mnkg. Morawaka 27 Mnkg, Kalutara 24 Mnkg and Deniyaya 16 Mnkg were the other significant contributors.
Amongst the High Growns, on the Western side of the island Nanuoya/Lindula/Talawakelle continued as the prime growing ago climatic district with a quantity of 11.7 Mnkg similar to the previous year. Hatton/Dickoya 8.465 Mnkg pushed past Upcot/Maskeliya 8.463 Mnkg. Agarapatha 7 Mnkg, Patana/Kotagala 6.1 Mnkg and Bogawantalawa 5.6 Mnkg were the other important contributors.
On the eastern slopes Demodara/Hali Ella/Badulla 9.2 Mnkg, Haputale 4.5 Mnkg and Malwatte/Welimada 3.2 Mnkg made up the volume. From Mid Grown areas, on the western slopes Gampola/Nawalapitiya/Dolosbage 14.7 Mnkg, Kadugannawa 8 Mnkg and Pussellawa/Hewaheta 7 Mnkg. On the eastern side Balangoda with 9.4 Mnkg were the main growing sub districts.