S L’s tea output down 22.7-pct in June 2022 with production in jeopardy
Sri Lanka’s tea industry has survived world wars and global depressions – but now it’s really in jeopardy as its production down 22.7 percent in June 2022 from a year earlier to 18.5 million kilograms while the total output for the first six months dipped 17.8 percent from the previous year, official data shows.
If the tea industry goes to the wilderness, it will be another calamity in a season of catastrophes unraveling Sri Lanka’s failing economy
Fertilizer can be used again after lifting import restrictions but has gone up twenty times in price not least because of the war in Ukraine. Herbicide and pesticide are also hard to come by.
Making matters worse, demand has declined too as overseas markets tip toward recession, Ministry of plantation industry sources said.
In June high grown teas were down 31.6 percent to 3.7 million kilograms, medium grown was fell 31.6 percent to 2.5 million kilograms and low-grown were down 16.2 percent to 12.3 million kilograms, industry data published by Forbes and Walkers Tea Brokers showed.
“Elevation-wise analysis shows that for the month of June 2022 High, Medium & Low Growns show a decrease of –1.87Mn/Kg, -1.55 Mn/Kg & -2.49Mn/Kg respectively when compared to the same month last year,” industry data revealed.
Low-grown teas, mostly grown by smallholders and exported to the Middle East and Central Asia, are now the most sought-after and expensive Ceylon Teas.
The national average tea price in the month of May was 3.46 dollars or 1,245.22 in rupees.
Sri Lankan tea has been earning higher prices for tea exports in rupees after the currency was depreciated in March against the USA dollar in 2022.
However, the industry had previously predicted the tea output to dip following a fertiliser ban imposed from April to November 2021.
The ban was imposed on fertilizer and agrochemicals after money printing created forex shortages and health concerns.
. Sri Lanka’s June tea exports too dipped 12.6 per cent to 23.58 million kilograms