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* Drought affects tea cultivation in Sri Lanka
Sun, Mar 2, 2014, 09:44 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 02, Colombo: The prolonged drought in Sri Lanka has affected the tea cultivation and reduced the tea production by about 50 percent ,the industry sources say.

Sri Lanka Tea Board says that the drought has affected tea plants in the plantations in the hill country as well as in the low country.

Tea Small Holding Development Authority says the tea small holders in Ratnapura, Kalutara, Galle and Matara districts have been affected by adverse weather. Around 400,000 small holders suffer due to the loss of income, the officials said.

The crops have declined drastically and the production has gone down as a result of the drought.

Planters and farmers say the drought is likely to cause long term damage to the plantations due to death of tea plants.

The Government said it is monitoring the situation daily and assured financial aid to tea smallholders if the conditions not improved within the next few weeks.

Sri Lanka's tea industry produced 340 million kilograms last year recording a 3.6 percent growth from 2012. The industry aimed to increase this year's production target to 348 million kilograms but they are skeptical whether the industry can reach that target with the severe drought.

Tea Board officials say if the conditions improve by the second quarter they will be able to reach last year's record of 340 million kilograms.

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