|Drought affects Sri Lanka tea industry|
Drought has cut Sri Lanka’s tea production by 50 percent causing havoc to the livelihoods of about 400,000 small holders largely in the south and prompting possible relief from the Government, which has described the situation as ” disturbing”, officials said.
Tea smallholders numbering close to 400,000 have been affected by this condition, which has resulted in low income for factories that have begun processing every other day due to leaf shortage and daily intake becoming uneconomical.
The Government has assured it is closely monitoring the situation and in the next few weeks, if the condition does improve, would resort to giving financial aid to smallholders. The production targets of the country’s highest foreign exchange earning crop are also in doubt due to the severe weather.
The industry will have to work hard to maintain momentum from the record teas crop of 340 million kilograms in 2013, which was a 3.6 percent growth from 2012.
Tea in Sri Lanka earned 1.5 billion US dollars in 2013 and is the island’s second largest export.