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Author Topic: 82 % crop increase augers well for tea industry thanks to tea smallholders  (Read 1316 times)
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« on: March 23, 2010, 04:08:47 AM »

82 % crop increase augers well for tea industry thanks to tea smallholders
By Steve A. Morrell
22 March 2010

The Sri Lanka tea Board, in their latest release, said actual crop returns for February were that the industry was ahead by approximately 82%, month-on-month figures comparing 2009. This year February crop was recorded at 23.5 million. However, 2009 being a bad year crop returns were 12.8 million. Industry sources were quite elated with this turn in salutary results. But there were some desultory faces in the formalized sector of the industry.

High grown crop returns were barely consistent with this good showing. At that elevation February 2009 harvests were 4.09 million, and this year Tea Board indicators were 5.3 million, an increase of just about one million kilos. Most estates managed by the formal tea sector are in high grown areas of the central hills. Their contribution, according to the Tea Board was barely sufficient to contribute to the touted ‘Good times’.

Our tea story on January’s performance too was that Low Growns were forging ahead, and plus returns were mainly attributed to that elevation. Similarly crop indicators in the Tea Board letter, dated March 19 too informed the Press that the largest crop performers were in the Low Grown Sector. Low Grown’s mainly comprised of Tea Small Holders.

At time of writing plantation sources were not available for comment.

At this point in time, its needs record that recently concluded Asian Development Bank assisted programme for the plantations was that of around Rs. 1.3 billion loan package most funds were absorbed by the Regional Plantation Companies, and one such area for loan absorption was targeted at crop increases through better designed replanting programmes; we are yet to see these plus denominators in action.

Nevertheless, as indicated by the Tea Board, the most vigorous areas in the plantations are the low growns, who have quickly recouped and now well on to plus directions.

Low Growns have shown about 100% increase in crop comparing 2009.

All told to date standing January and February is that total crop intakes for the period have recorded 51.9 million. Same period last year was 30.7 million. Plus variance being about 21 .1 million kilos.

Market conditions were good last week. Again low growns returned good results. High growns too not to be out – done also had good vibrations at the auctions last week.

The Asia Siyaka Weekly Tea Market report last week said Kenya continued to be the main tea supplier to the UK, exporting 57.578 metric tons to that country, and maintaining 60% market share.

Sri Lanka, a top supplier to the UK about 35 years ago, is now in the low rungs, exporting only 1. 64 % to the UK market. This column has periodically highlighted weakness in the marketing segment for tea and indications are that nothing will be done for tea promotion to explore new markets or regain traditional buyers who have now been lost with no hope they would return.

Countries like Kenya, India, China, Germany, (Where tea is not grown), Ireland, all export tea to the UK, and hold greater market share placings, than Sri Lanka; more aptly famous for the Ceylon Tea Brand, as being the best in the World.

Although this seems to be self-declared all other markets don’t seem to think so.

Exports to CIS countries to are steadily declining with no real panic reactions to examine what really is going wrong.

Source: TheISland.lk http://www.island.lk/2010/03/22/business5.html
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