June 05, Colombo: Production of finished tea fell by 4 million kilograms in the first quarter of this year, resulting in a loss of about $ 73 million, according to Lionel Herath, president of the Sri Lanka Tea Factory Owner’s Association.
According to Tea Exporters’ Association, January-April 2022 cumulative exports totaled 81.96 million kgs, showing a decrease of 4.24 million kgs compared to 86.20 million kgs of January-April 2021.
Mr. Herath points out that this situation has arisen due to the ban on chemical fertilizers and that the price of a 50 kg bag of tea fertilizer is between Rs. 20,000 and 30,000.
He says that the increase in the price of fertilizer is unbearable for the tea estate owners and due to this situation a large number of tea estate owners have stopped using chemical fertilizers.
Due to this the production of raw tea leaves as well as the quality of the tea leaves has decreased, he pointed out.
"If our country’s finished tea production continues to decline, there is a risk that other tea producing countries will capture our world tea market," he said.
Mr. Hearath stressed that the fuel crisis had hit tea factories hard, affecting tea plantation owners in transporting as well as supplying raw firewood.