Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva: Teases out the problem in tea exports


Tea export volumes in 2020 declined by 9.2% or 27 million kilos to 265.5 million kilos from the previous year, whilst in value terms, the performance was down by Rs. 10.4 billion or 4.3% to Rs. 230.1 billion from 2019... The latter is despite Free-on-Board (FOB) unit value of tea rising to its highe

Daily FT | February 9, 2021



Fact Check

To check this claim, FactCheck consulted data from Sri Lanka’s Export Development Board. 

The minister claims, with statistics, that (a) the volume of tea exports declined, and (b) the earnings from tea declined, despite (c) the price of tea exports increasing. 

On claim (c), the data shows that in 2019, the average FOB value of a kilo of tea exported was LKR 822.25. In 2020, this value increased to LKR 866.72, which is an increase of by 5.4%, as stated by Minister de Silva.  

On claim (a), the data shows that the volume of tea exports has decreased from 292.7 million kg in 2019 to 265.6 million kg in 2020. which is a decrease of 9.3% as stated by the minister. 

The consequent outcome set out in claim (b) is also correct. Despite the increase in the unit value, the greater decrease in the quantity of tea exported has resulted in decreasing total value of tea exported. The total export value has decreased from LKR 240.6 billion in 2019 to LKR 230.2 billion in 2020, which is 10.4 billion or 4.3%, as stated by the minister. 

Since the data aligns with all of Minister de Silva’s claims, we classify his statement as TRUE. 

*FactCheck’s verdict is based on the most recent information that is publicly accessible. As with every fact check, if new information becomes available, FactCheck will revisit the assessment 


Sri Lanka Export Development Board, Trade Statistics, available at: 

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