January 16, 2018 / 9:19 AM / a month ago

TABLE-Sri Lanka 2017 tea output rises for first time in four years

    COLOMBO, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's tea output rose 5 percent in 2017,
recovering from a seven-year low hit in the previous year, the state-run Tea
Board said on Tuesday.
    However, production in December fell by 13.5 percent from a year earlier,
the board's data showed.
    Tea production in 2017 was impacted by severe drought followed by flooding,
poor application of fertilisers, a government ban on pesticides and restricted
labour.
    "The country will have to contend with unsettled weather, inability to
source cost-effective weedicides, disruption to regular agricultural practices
and high cost of fertilizers," said Anil Cooke, head of Asia Siyaka Commodities,
referring to the production outlook for 2018.
    "If weather holds, Sri Lanka could reach 320 million kilos (of production)
in 2018."
    Tea output in 2016 dropped 11.1 percent, in its third straight yearly
decline. 
    Tea export volume dropped to a 14-year low in 2016, broker data showed.
Export earnings fell 5.3 percent to $1.26 billion in 2016 from $1.33 billion in
2015. Sri Lanka recorded its highest earnings of $1.63 billion in 2014.
    Tea is Sri Lanka's top agricultural export commodity and one of the main
foreign currency earners for the $81 billion economy.
  
    
 Sri Lanka's tea output (kg):
                    DECEMBER                     JAN-DEC
                2017          2016          2017        2016   
 
 High Grown   4,497,739    6,142,174    64,364,455   64,424,744
 Medium Grown 3,352,029    4,447,784    45,549,882   44,510,198
 Low Grown   15,653,705   16,589,737   197,165,366  183,638,644
 Total       23,503,473   27,179,696   307,079,703  292,573,586
          
 Sri Lanka tea production (mln kg):
                        Output in previous years         
        2017    2016    2015    2014    2013    2012    2011   
 
      307.08  292.36  328.96   338.0   340.2*  327.5   328.7 
  
 *  Sri Lanka's record tea production
     
 Sri Lanka Tea Revenue ($ mln):
               2015      2014       2013       2012       2011 
 
             1,340.5   1,628.3*   1,542.2    1,411.9    1,476.2
 
 Pct Chg 
  on Yr (-)   (17.7)     5.6        9.2       (5.3)       2.56 
 
  * Sri Lanka's tea export earnings hit a record high in 2014

 (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Shihar Aneez and Subhranshu Sahu)
  
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