Adverse weather, poor application of fertilizers and a government ban on pesticides are wreaking havoc with Sri Lanka’s tea production. Last year, the Indian Ocean island nation’s tea output hit a seven-year low, falling 11.1 percent in its third straight year of declining production, according to a recent report. And the bad news continues: The country’s tea output fell 15.3 percent this past January.
“Mainly it is the weather; in addition to that, other factors like (poor application of) fertilizer and (government ban on) weedicide also impacted,” said Sri Lanka Tea Board Director-General S.A. Siriwardena.
This year marks the 150th anniversary of Sri Lanka’s tea industry. Tea is the country’s top agricultural export commodity. However, tea exports have dropped to a 14-year low: export earnings fell 5.3 percent to $1.26 billion in 2016, from $1.33 billion in 2015. The country recorded its highest earnings of $1.63 billion in 2014.
The country is the world’s fourth-largest producer of tea. It exports primarily to Russia, Iran, Iraq and Turkey, as well as UAE, Libya, Syria and Kuwait.
Source: Economy Next