21st January 2012, www.ft.lk
Sri Lanka’s tea production fell in 2011 from a record high in the previous year due to bad weather, but the top agricultural export earned a record $1.5 billion, the State-run Tea Board said on Thursday.
Tea output in 2011 fell 0.9 per cent to 328.37 million kg from the previous year’s record 331.43 million kg. Output in December fell 6.8 per cent to 25.47 million kg from 27.32 million in the same month in 2010.
“The basic reason for the fall was due to adverse weather conditions,” Sri Lanka Tea Board Director General H.D. Hemarathna told Reuters.
The Tea Board had expected full-year output to end near last year’s revised 331.43 million kg
Hemaratne said provisional data shows export revenue from earned a record $ 1.5 billion this year, up from $ 1.4 billion last year, despite turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa, home to some of Sri Lanka’s major customers.
Tea is one of the $ 59 billion economy’s main foreign currency earners, along with remittances, garment exports and tourism.
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