2022 tea crop plunges to lowest in 26 years

2022 tea crop plunges to lowest in 26 years

Sri Lanka’s tea production as expected declined by 48 million kilos (16%) in 2022 on the back of the fertiliser issue and the disruptions faced in the middle part of the year.

The total national production for the year was 251.50 million kilos compared with 299.49 million kilos in 2021. This was the lowest in 26 years when 246 million kilos were produced in 1995, Sri Lanka Tea Board said yesterday.

High-grown elevation produced 56.3 million kilos, a drop of 9 million kilos on 2021 whilst Medium elevation production was 40.2 million kilos compared with 51 million kilos in the previous year, a deficit of 10.8 million kilos.

Low grown elevation dominated by the smallholder sector recorded 155 million kilos, losing approximately 28 million kilos or 15% against 2021. The production decline of the low elevation has contributed over 50% to the overall drop of national production for 2022.

CTC production accounted for almost 9% of the total and Green tea less than a percent. Orthodox production for 2022 was 90% and has contributed largely towards the high prices that prevailed throughout 2022 and more importantly resulted in tea smallholders earning over Rs. 250 per kilo for their green leaf in the second half of the year with some growers enjoying even more.

Higher earnings for green leaf supplies have benefitted the growers in the backdrop of high cost of inputs, Tea Board added.

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