Monday, October 25, 2010

Sep tea output falls 5% on bad weather

Reuters - Sri Lanka's tea production in September fell 5 percent from a year earlier due to heavy showers during the preceding month, the state-run tea board said last week.

Tea output in September was 25.05 million kg, compared with 26.35 million kg in the same month last year. Output in the first nine months jumped 18.4 percent to 247.28 million kg against 208.87 million in the same period last year.

"Heavy showers that prevailed during the month of August affected the plucking and application of fertiliser, which is the reason for lower crop intake in September," H.D. Hemarathne, director general of the Sri Lanka Tea Board, told Reuters.

But Hemarathne forecast production of 310 million kg of tea in 2010 owing to overall good weather, better fertilizer application and good agricultural practices in the rest of the year.

The Tea Board hopes Sri Lanka's No. 1 agricultural export crop will raise record high revenues of more than $1.3 billion this year, and possibly surpass the all-time output peak of 318.7 million kg in 2008.

Output fell 9 percent to 289.8 million kg last year due to adverse weather and a lack of fertiliser, along with one of Sri Lanka's frequent labour strikes.

Sri Lanka's annual earnings from tea exports fell 6.8 percent to $1.2 billion in 2009.

 Export revenue from January to July has risen 20.9 percent to $746.5 million compared to a year ago, the central bank's latest data showed.

Tea is one of the $42 billion economy's main foreign currency earners, along with remittances, garment exports and tourism.

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