COLOMBO, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka’s tea production fell in October for a seventh straight month due to adverse weather and a high base effect, the island nation’s state-run tea board said on Friday.
Tea production in October recorded 23.69 million kilogrammes (kg) against 27.88 million kg in the same month last year. The output in the first 10 months has slipped 2.3 percent to 269.89 million kg from 276.15 million in the same period last year.
“The main reason is the climatic conditions and also last year we recorded the highest production that is also a reason for the steep drop,” Sri Lanka Tea Board Director General H.D. Hemarathna told Reuters.
The tea board expects full-year output to end near last year’s record high of 329.4 million kg.
The tea board hopes revenue from Sri Lanka’s No. 1 agricultural export crop will rise to a record of more than $1.5 billion this year, from $1.4 billion last year despite turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa, home to some of the island nation’s major customers.
Sri Lanka’s earnings from tea exports have risen 3.1 percent to $973.1 million in the first eight months of 2011, the central bank’s latest data shows. Earnings gained 16.1 percent to hit $1.4 billion last year.
Tea is one of the $50 billion economy’s main foreign currency earners, along with remittances, garment exports and tourism.
The following table shows Sri Lanka’s tea output (in kg):
2011 2010 2011 2010 High Gr 4,915,579 5,701,899 64,991,636 65,463,545 Medium Gr 3,872,070 4,366,697 42,647,638 47,033,155 Low Gr 14,899,788 17,809,650 162,247,983 163,654,362 Total 23,687,437 27,878,246 269,887,257 276,151,062
($1=110.20 Sri Lankan rupee)
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Forex rates (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Bryson Hull)