Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tea production increases by 16.51%


* High growns cultivated extent falls, Budget 2010 complicated

By Steve A. Morrell

Tea production rose 16.51 percent to 274.5 million kilos as at end October 2010 from 235.5 million kilos a year ago, data from the Sri Lanka tea Board showed.

Expectations are high that 2010 would be a good year for the tea industry. Minister Plantations Industries, Mahinda Samarasinghe, at a recent forum said tea export earning are expected to reach US$ 1.5 this year.

Asia Siyaka Weekly Tea market report said subject to conditions being equal, 2010 would be an exceptional year for the entire industry.

Detailed crop results morphed to contextual readings shows some trepidation irrespective of to-date results being positive. Monthly readings over the past two months were that both September and October results were good months last year. Attributable reasons for month end declines were that weather extremes harmed crop.

But Asia Siyaka in their report confidently recorded crop expectations to be around 325 million end 2010. Tea circles said they would look forward to these results which at this point in time seemed ‘more positive’.

In 1959 the area under cultivation was 74,581 hectares for High elevation teas. Mid elevation was 66, 711, and low elevation was 46,101 hectares.

By 2000, High elevation area under tea drastically declined to 52, 272 hectares. Mid elevations too recorded declines in area, to 56, 863 hectares, however, Low elevation under tea increased phenomenally to 78,836 hectares. In 1959, the total area under tea was 187,393 hectares. In 2000 that area was estimated to be 188,971 hectares.

High grown areas have declined in extent. The situation now, approximately 10 years later could be worse.

Perhaps the Tea Board could upgrade their web site to indicate current details, as records on cultivated extents have not been undated since 2000. Lanka Commodity Brokers in their Weekly Tea market report aid increased production from Low growns was approximately one million kilos. Mid growns have shown a surplus of 0.5 million kilos as well. High growns, the report said have shown decreases, month on month of about 788,000 kilos.

The Budget was very briefly a high priority subject in Tea circles last week but died down fast because incentives did not seem practically attractive for expansion. Tea circles who did not want to be named said whatever was seemingly identified as being welcome, would have to be studied carefully and understood for meaningful applications. Presently however the budget remains a complicated series of words that would need to be sifted through to arrive at conclusions, these sources said.

source - www.island.lk

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