The Sri Lanka tea industry has fared better 2017 with total crop increase of 5 percent from 292m/kg in 2016 to 307m/kg in 2017 despite the many setbacks, including a temporarily ban on tea exports to Russia, Minister Navin Dissanayake said.
Speaking at an annual review of the Tea Board, the Minister of Plantation Industries said that although there has been a considerable drop in exports to countries like Iran and Syria last year, access and opportunities to new markets have paved the way for a positive outlook.
During 2017, the cumulative Colombo Tea Auction fetched an average price of US$ 4.07 per kilo as against US$ 3.19 per kilo in 2016. “We have increased the price and the Colombo Tea Auction fetches the best price in the world,” he said. “We’ve increased our production and are looking at ways to ensure stringent quality checks.”
In 2017, Ceylon Tea exports was at 289 million kg and export revenue was at Rs.233 billion.
Turkey has emerged as the largest buyer of Ceylon Tea with 35.4 million kilos followed by Iraq with 31.4 million kilos, Russia with 31 million kilos and Iran with 24.9 million kilos.
Exports to the Middle East have dipped due to socio-economic unrest and political instability. “It is noteworthy that in spite of the various geo-political conditions prevailing in the Middle East and North Africa, around 53% of exports goes to this region, with Iran, Jordan and Lebanon accounting for 12%, 17% and 19% respectively.
The Minister also stressed that China remained the fastest growing market for Ceylon Black Tea. A quantity of 9.9 million kilos was exported in 2017 with an increase of 30% in volume terms over 2016. An analysis of the past 5 years also supports this fact with exports having been 3 million in 2012.