Weather Curtails Sri Lanka Exports

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka

Weather conditions improved after depressing tea yields throughout the first quarter and April tallies remain below last year.

Sri Lanka agricultural officials and growers continue to feel the effect of sporadic rainfall on the eve of the monsoon season.

Asia Siyaka a broker with Commodities Limited in a note last week to the firm’s clients wrote that “This year’s (April) crop figure is the lowest since 2008.” The Lanka Business Line reported  Siyaka is concerned that tea bag exports fell 14 percent to 7.6 million kilos during the four months ending May 1.

Earnings from exports dipped a less severe 10-percent to $467 million dollars due to weak currency. Tea brought SLRs 51 billion ($421 million), on lower shipping totals.

Exports of bulk tea fell 3 percent to 39.2 million kilos but packaged tea in bags and pouches experienced a slight growth from $46.8 million in 2011 to $47.4 million through April. About 41 percent of the tea Sri Lanka exports is shipped in bulk.

Sri Lanka’s Tea Board estimates output fell 4 percent to 104 million kilos through April compared to 2011. Tea harvested in April totaled 29.3 kilos which is down 2 percent compared to same month last year.

Growers in mountainous regions that produce the most expensive teas were hardest hit with production down 12 percent from 8.2 million kilos in 2011 to 7.2 million kilos this year, according the Lankan Business Line.

Teas harvested at middle elevations were up 9 percent year-on-year, while growers along the coast maintained previous levels.  

Sri Lanka’s was unable to meet demand of its largest trading partners. Exports to Russia and CIS countries fell 5 percent to 23 million kilos and shipments to Turkey fell to 6 million kilos from 7.8 million kilos through the same period last year. Shipments to the United Arab Emirates fell to 3.1 million kilos compared to 8.1 million kilos in 2011.

Source: Lanka Business Line