Tea industry grapples with lower crop

Monday, 1 October 2012 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The tea industry is continuing to struggle with lower crop, estimated at a four year low during the first eight months of the year.

Asia Siyaka said tea production for the period January to August 2012 is at a four year low of 214 million kilos and is down 3% on last year’s eight month total of 221 million kilos.

This was despite the crop in the month of August being nominally higher at 25.38 million kilos as opposed to 2011’s corresponding month’s revised figure of 25.36 million kilos. Asia said the occasional showers recorded in the higher elevations supported the national total with gains against the previous year. In August High Growns recorded a welcome increase in production after some months with production of 5.1 million kilos up 12% against 4.5 million kilos in August 201. Mediums fared better, up 25% to 4.2 million kilos from 3.3 million kilos last year. Low Grown crop had declined 8% to 16 million kilos over 2011 as well.

 “The dry warm conditions impacted on the sub districts of Galle and Matara the most whilst Sabaragamuwa fared better,” Asia said adding that Low Grown production of 16 million kilos in August 2012 was the lowest since February this year.

Commenting on cumulative crop, Asia said Low Grown production at 130.7 million kilos was equal to last year’s quantity. Similarly Mid Growns have also maintained last year’s figure of 35 million kilos thanks to the August recovery.

The national shortfall of 6.7 million kilos YoY 2011 has come almost exclusively from High Growns which have declined to 48.3 million kilos for the period January – August 2012 against 54.7 million kilos last year.

Sri Lanka’s tea production in whole of 2011 was 328.3 million kilos down by 3 million kilos over 2010. (CM)