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July tea output down 11.5%

Aug 18, 2011 9:05:01 PM - www.ft.lk

COLOMBO (Reuters): Sri Lanka’s tea production fell in July for a fourth straight month due to adverse weather conditions, the island nation’s state-run tea board said on Thursday.

Tea production in July was 11.5 per cent down to 24.2 million kilogrammes (kg) against 27.4 million kg in the same month last year.
The output in the first seven months has slipped 0.5 per cent to 195.7 million kg from 196.7 million in the same period last year.
“Slight drought had resulted in low production in the period,” H.D. Hemarathne, Director General of the Sri Lanka Tea Board, told Reuters.
But the Tea Board still expects full-year tea output to hit a new record high surpassing 2010’s record of 329.4 million kg as it hopes for better production in the rest of the year, Hemarathne said.
The Tea Board hopes revenue from Sri Lanka’s No. 1 agricultural export crop will rise to a record high of more than $1.5 billion this year, from $1.4 billion last year despite turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa, which host some of the island nation’s major customers.
Sri Lanka’s earnings from tea exports rose 15.4 per cent to $582.6 million in the first five months of 2011, the Central Bank’s latest data shows.
Earnings gained 16.1 per cent to $1.4 billion last year.
Tea is one of the $50 billion economy’s main foreign currency earners, along with remittances, garment exports and tourism.