Thursday, May 6, 2010

Sri Lanka - Tea market update

By Steve A. Morrell

The Sri Lanka Tea Board (SLTB) released general performance indicators effective March this year.

Although increase in crop is indicated comparison was progress 2010 as against 2009; 2009 was a bad year for Ceylon Tea. Any comparative indicators would show up well.

SLTB readings indicate just such prosperity.

Plantation sources said dry weather prevalent at that time influenced crop intakes. It was not surprising that March crops were low. More so growing conditions were relegated to inhibitive restrictions because of dry weather which accentuated dormancy. you cannot expect growth with no rain could you’, was the somewhat pithy reply. Distinctly out of humour he said if you must report on crop factually no rain meant low crop. And that’s exactly what happened.

However, comparative figures to end March was 73. 2 million kilos 2010. 2009 was a bad year at some 49.7 million. Tea sources said last year was best forgotten.

SLTB comparisons were that made tea categories too recorded increases. Orthodox tea production at 68.6 million recorded increase; so too CTC. SLTB results were that CTC was barely in the increase equation. Green tea comparatively a new entrant to the export crop category, also showed increases.

Low growns continued to dominate crop returns harvesting 44.1 million kilos end march this year. Clearly being most productive in elevation comparisons.

We discussed cause and effect with Brokers, who said low growns were mostly areas planted in virgin jungle land, where top soils were about six feet deep.

Conversely high growns now existed on denuded Western slopes where soils had to be built to their expected depth in humus, which they said would take time.

That should explain low cropping patterns.

There was no comment on selected estates doing better than others within given agricultural locations.

As already recorded march was not a good month for Tea; however this positions would be improved.

Don’t expect miracles these sources said.

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