Unlike production which dipped, the tea industry’s exports have got off to a good start in 2011 with January shipments growing by 3.3 million kilos in terms of quantity and Rs. 2.6 billion in value.
Forbes and Walker Tea Brokers said tea exports for January 2011 totalled 24.3 m/kgs showing a gain of 3.3 m/kgs vis-a-vis 21.0 of 2010. Total revenue realised for January 2011 of Rs.12.9 bn show a gain of Rs.2.6 bn vis-a-vis Rs.10.3 bn of 2010.
This reflects a gain of 25.2% YoY. Tea in bags/tea in packets have shown a significant gain YoY whilst tea in bulk too have shown a growth but to a lesser extent.
CIS has emerged as the number one importer followed by UAE and Iran. Syria, Turkey and Iraq are the other noteworthy importers of Sri Lankan tea, Forbes said.
In 2010 Sri Lanka’s tea industry brewed an extra Rs. 19.2 billion to propel exports to a record Rs. 155.3 billion. Volume wise, tea exports in 2010 amounted to 314.2 million kilos, up by 8.4% from 289.6 million kilos shipped in 2009.
Value wise, 2010 overall exports saw an increase of 14.1% or Rs. 19.2 billion to Rs. 155.3 billion, the highest ever beating the previous record of Rs. 137.5 billion established in 2008.
Yesterday the Daily FT reported that tea production in January dipped by 6.1 million kilos to 20.6 million kilos in comparison to a year earlier.
Lanka Commodity Brokers attributed the dip to the extremely wet weather conditions that prevailed in December, last year, which indeed has had its toll on tea production.
Biggest producer Low Grown saw a crop of 13.1 million kilos, down from 17.4 million in January 2010 whilst High Grown production dropped from 5.8 million kilos last year to 4.7 million kilos in January 2011.
Medium grown crop was 2.8 million kilos, lower in comparison to 3.6 million achieved in January 2010.
The dip in January is following the tea industry ending 2010 with the highest ever crop of 329.38 million kilos comfortably above the 2008 record of 318.6 million kilos. Following the drought in 2009, production slumped to a 9 year low of 291 million kilos.