Sri Lanka tea output falls to 26-year low on interventionist state


Sri Lanka’s tea output fell to a 26 year low of 251.5 million kilograms as the urban intelligentsia tried to create an interventionist state and banned chemical fertilizer.

Chemical fertilizer was banned on the advice of the Government Medical Officers Association, whose boss said ancient Sri Lankans lived for over a century before chemical fertilizers were invented.

Tea output fell 16 percent or 48 million kilograms in 2022 due to a lagged effect of fertilizer ban.

“This was the lowest in 26 years when 246 million kilos was produced in 1995,” Sri Lanka Tea Board said.

High grown elevations had produced 56.3 million kilos, a drop of 9 million kilos from 2021.

Medium elevations had produced 40.2 million kilos down from 51.0 million kilos.

Low grown elevation dominated by the small holder sector recorded 155 million kilos, down 28 million kilos or 15 percent.

Low growns contributed to 50 percent of the overall drop.

CTC was 9 percent and Green Tea was less than a percent.

In 2022, orthodox production accounted for 90 percent.

Sri Lanka tea prices however soared in 2022 especially in rupee terms after the following a collapse of the currency from 200 to 360 to the US dollar.

Smallholders earned around 250 rupees a kilo for green leaf.

“Higher earnings for green leaf supplies have benefitted the growers in the back drop of high cost of inputs,” the Tea Board said.