COLOMBO, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's 2010 full-year tea production rose 13.1 percent to a record 329.4 million kg, the Indian Ocean island nation's Tea Board said on Friday.
The record crop grew from 291.1 million in 2009, and surpassed the previous top mark of 318.7 million kg set in 2008. December dipped to 25.7 million kg from 26.3 million kg in the same month last year.
"It was due to good weather and favourable agricultural practices," Sri Lanka Tea Board Director General H.D. Hemarathna told Reuters.
Output fell 9 percent to 289.8 million kg last year from an all-time output peak of 318.7 million kg in 2008 due to adverse weather and a lack of fertiliser, along with a labour strike.
Sri Lanka's annual earnings from tea exports fell 6.8 percent to $1.2 billion last year after hitting a record peak of $1.28 billion in 2008.
Export revenue from January to November rose 16.7 percent to $1.2 billion compared with a year ago, central bank data showed.
Tea is one of the main foreign exchange earners for Sri Lanka's $42 billion economy, along with remittances, garments and tourism. The Indian ocean island nation is one of the biggest black tea producers in the world, along with India and Kenya.
The following table shows Sri Lanka's tea output (in kg):
2010 2009 2010 2009 High Gr 5,896,680 6,402,091 78,285,212 72,963,048 Medium Gr 3,506,600 3,733,909 55,416,911 44,844,250 Low Gr 16,286,730 16,191,646 195,679,722 173,324,695 Total 25,690,010 26,327,646 329,381,845 291,131,993 (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Bryson Hull)