- Records over 53% drop in output
- Lowest recorded since Feb. 2009
- Low-Grown tea records largest drop
- 1Q20 cumulative production lowest since 1993
Sri Lanka’s tea production in March has plunged by over 50 percent compared to the corresponding month in 2019, the lowest recorded since February 2009.
Statistics released by Sri Lanka Tea Board showed that a total of 13.2 MnKg of tea was produced in the month of March, which is the lowest recorded since February 2009 where the crop totalled 12.8 Mnkg.
The March 2020 figure is a decrease of 15.08 MnKg, a 53.17 percent drop compared to the 28.3 MnKg recorded in March 2019.
Industry analyst attributed the steep contraction in production to the on-going measures taken by the authorities to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the country. However, analysts pointed out that in addition to the curfew in place, the drought is also a factor that contributed to the drop in production levels.
“In an unprecedented year which started with a long drought, from the latter quarter of 2019, culminating in work stoppages and lockdown due to COVID-19 virus has resulted in a sharp and unprecedented drop in production from all elevations,” said Asia Siyaka Commodities in their latest tea market report. Elevation wise, High-Growns were lower by about 41 percent with 3.4 Mnkg this year against 5.7 Mnkg in March 2019. Mid-Growns too were lower, in line with recorded harvest of 2.6 Mnkg, against 4.4 Mnkg a year ago.
Low-Grown tea saw the largest drop with a harvest of 7.3 Mnkg against 18.2 Mnkg a year ago. The drop was approximately 60 percent. Analysis of cumulative production figures by Forbes & Walker Tea Brokers showed that the January – March 2020 production of 53.26 Mnkg is a decrease of 20.16 Mnkg compared to the cumulative production recorded in 1Q in 2019, which was 73.4 MnKg.
The 2020 cumulative production for 1Q is the lowest since 1993 where 52.3 Mnkg was recorded.