October tea production, a five-year high | Sunday Observer

October tea production, a five-year high

Sohan Samaranayake and Roshan Rajadurai
Sohan Samaranayake and Roshan Rajadurai

This year’s October figure of 7.1 million kilos at a five-year high for the month and is second only to the record figure of 7.5 million kilos achieved in 2002.

High Growns Teas bounced back to levels last seen in May, following a production slump for four months commencing June.

Last year’s High Grown crop was 44 per cent lower at 4.9 million kilos, Asia Siyaka Commodities Director / Senior Vice President Sohan Samaranayake told Sunday Observer Business on Friday.

The October Mid Grown figure of 5.07 million kilos, was up 38% from 3.6 Million kilos last year and is the highest since 1987, he said.

Here again production was in line with what was achieved in May this year. Low Growns, however, at 17.3 Million kgs was only marginally higher YoY 2017 figure of 17 million kilos. Total production in October at 29.6 million kilos, was up a sharp 15% more than last year’s quantity of 25.7 million kilos and was only second to the 2013 record quantity of 30.5 million kilos.

Production for the period January–October has risen to 252.9 million kilos thanks to the strong October performance but was yet down 2% on last year’s ten month figure of 258.8 million kilos. High 54.8 and Mid 39.3 were now ahead of last year. Low Grown’s 158.7 million kilos however, still trails last year’s January-October quantity of 165.4 Million kilos.

Chairman of the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon’s Plantation Services Group and immediate Past Chairman of the Planters Association of Ceylon, Dr. Roshan Rajadurai told Sunday Observer Business yesterday that the industry saw these October figures with the ideal growing conditions coupled with rains which has seen the production rising.

Dr. Rajadurai said that this was in isolation vis a vis the November figure, which had declined again. That is not a year- today”

He also stressed that the entire wage structure would have to be restructured in accordance with the similar productivity based systems in tea akin to the rest of the world or else, Sri Lankan teas would be out priced in global markets.

He also stressed that the estate workers were hell bent on a suicidal move being adamant with a 150 year old wage model which was deemed obsolete and that what they were insisting on, has seen Sri Lanka’s tea export markets already been replaced by Kenya , India and Indonesia.

He said that if the estate unions were adamant to sound the death knell for the local industry by their myopic and insular considerations, the industry could not be blamed or held responsible for that at all.

“The trade unions and their political masters should take the rap, if such a catastrophe takes place,” he said.

Statistics: Courtesy Lanka Commodity Brokers Ltd