Tea output dips for third straight month in March

  • March tea production dips by 3% YoY
  • High and Low Growns show a marginal decline, Medium Growns record a slight gain
  • Tea Board expects crop output to improve from 2Q23 with application of fertilisers
Sri Lanka’s tea production is yet to pick up after being hit by the poorly thought-out fertiliser policy, with the output contracting for three consecutive months in 2023.
Data from the Sri Lanka Tea Board showed that tea production dipped by about 3 percent year-on-year (YoY) to 21.34 MnKgs in March. However, it must be noted that the dip in production is lower than the 16 percent YoY drop in January and 12 percent in February.
The analysis by Forbes & Walker Tea Brokers showed that the High Growns and Low Growns have shown a marginal decline, whilst the Medium Growns record a marginal gain. When compared to 28.81 Mnkgs of March 2021, March 2023 shows a decrease of 7.47 MnKgs.
The cumulative production for the January-March 2023 period totalled 58.52 MnKgs, recording a decrease of 7 percent when compared with the corresponding period in 2023. Similarly, on a cumulative basis, all elevations have recorded a considerable decrease, in comparison with the corresponding period 2022.
Further, when compared to 74.51 MnKgs of January-March 2021, the cumulative production of 2023 showed a decrease of 15.99 MnKgs. Here again, all elevations show a decrease over the corresponding period of 2021. 
According to the statements made by the Sri Lanka Tea Board previously, tea production is expected to pick up from 2Q23, as by then the usage of fertilisers, after the end of the agro-chemical ban, is expected to boost crop growth. 
The Tea Board expressed confidence in having improved crop growth from April and expects the output to increase from then on. 
Tea production is expected to recover to 300 MnKgs in 2023, after the lowest production of 251.50 Mnkgs, since 1995, was recorded in 2022.