Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 2 February 2014





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Despite adverse weather:

Tea production up in 2013

The Sri Lanka Tea Board has confirmed that annual tea production in 2013, was the highest ever at 340 million kilograms, 3.6% more than the 2012 figure of 328 million kilos.

The previous record of 331 million kilos was achieved in 2010. This year's figures was released relatively late and would have included most estate returns.

The crop figure is an exceptional achievement considering the adverse weather that restricted production from Western High Grown districts from May to July.

In the low country too the weather did not follow the traditional pattern. The availability of fertiliser at subsidised rates went a long way to assist smallholders and regional plantation companies to overcome mixed growing conditions. Additionally, high tea prices for Low Country teas and the resulting rise in bought leaf prices encouraged smallholders to optimise production. Unhealthy competition for leaf by factories and leaf collectors increased production of low quality leaf.

National green tea production reached an all time high of 3.69 million kilos in 2013, up 22% on the 2012 figure of 3.03 million kilos. CTC production was 22.4 million kilos, down on the 2012 record of 23.3 million kilos.

It was a record year for Low country with production reaching 208 million kilos, the highest ever, well ahead of the 2012 adjusted figure of 202 million kilos. The tea crop from this region which contributes 61% of the national harvest and has a finite capacity to grow from the current base of production.

High Growns did well to achieve 75.5 million kilos, nominally ahead of the previous year's figure of 73.6 million kilos, but well below the high of 86.9 million kilos achieved in 2002 or even the 78 million kilos produced in 2011.

The elevational numbers for 2013 compared to 2012 were propped up by improved production from the Eastern slopes of the central hills, that had a extended dry spell in mid 2012.

Mid Growns were similarly boosted by better growing conditions in the eastern growing districts and rose 7% from 52 to 56 million kilos.

In the Low Country, the sub district of Ratnapura made the biggest contribution of 56 million kilos, nominally lower than the 2012 figure of 57 million kilos. Galle followed with an improved performance from 44 to 48 million kilos. Morawaka 27 million kilos, Kalutara 24 million kilos and Deniyaya 16 million kilos were the other significant contributors.

Among the High Growns, on the western side of the island, Nanuoya, Lindula and Talawakelle continued as the prime growing agro climatic district with a quantity of 11.7 million kilos similar to the previous year. Hatton-Dickoya with 8.465 million kilos pushed past Upcot-Maskeliya - 8.463 million kilos. Agarapatha - 7 million kilos, Patana-Kotagala - 6.1 million kilos and Bogawantalawa - 5.6 million kilos were the other important contributors.

On the eastern slopes Demodara-Hali Ella-Badulla 9.2 million kilos, Haputale - 4.5 million kilos and Malwatte-Welimada - 3.2 million kilos made up the volume.

From Mid Grown areas, on the western slopes, Gampola, Nawalapitiya and Dolosbage - 14.7 million kilos and Kadugannawa - 8 million kilos and Pussellawa-Hewaheta - 7 million kilos and on the eastern side Balangoda 9.4 million kilos were the main growing sub districts.

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