The Island/Asia News Network

COLOMBO — Sri Lanka’s tea production, in March, and the first quarter, has declined to the lowest level, in many decades, a Tea Exporters’ Association report states.

Tea crop, in March, amounted to 13.2 million kg, down by 53% from a year earlier. All three elevations have shown a significant decrease in production YOY.

High Grown teas, totaling 3.3 million kg, for March, was down by 2.2 million kg from a year earlier. Medium Grown tea crop was 2.5 million kg, down by 1.75 million kg, and Low Grown tea crop amounted to 7.3 million kg, lower by 10.9 million kg, from March 2019.

The cumulative tea crop, in the first quarter (January-March), was 53.26 million kg, down by 20.16 million kg, against the volume of 73.42 million kg, from the corresponding period of last year. Similarly, all elevations have shown a decrease, with the highest dip recorded from the Low Grown elevation, followed by Mediums and High Grown areas.

CTC production, for March, was 1.4 million kilos, down by 0.5 million kilos, from March 2019. On a cumulative basis, January-March 2020 total of 5.3 million kg show a marginal decrease of 0.09 million kg, compared with 5.4 million kg last year.

Sri Lanka’s tea exports also suffered a major blow, in March, recording the lowest-ever shipment and sharp dip, in value, as COVID-19 mitigation measures caused disruption to trade, according to the report.

Tea export volume, in March, amounted to 13.8 million kg, down by 12.6 million kg, or by 47 %, the lowest ever, since April 2009. This decline is mainly due to the disruption to work during the latter half of the month, on account of the COVID-19 issue.

The January-March 2020 exports amounted to 59.5 million kg, down by 14.1 million kg from the corresponding period of last year. The main categories of exports, on a cumulative basis, showed a decrease, as well, compared to the corresponding period of 2019. The total revenue of Rs. 49.2 billion, for the first quarter of 2020, was lower by Rs. 13.2 billion, from 2019.

The FOB value for the period January-March 2020 of Rs. 826.39, was a decline of Rs. 21.18 per kilo, from a year earlier.

Among the major importers of Sri Lankan tea, Iraq has secured the No. 1 position followed by Turkey and Russia. Iran was in the 4th place, whilst Azerbaijan, Chile, Saudi Arabia, China and Syria are the other noteworthy importers, during the period under review.


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