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Growing economy darkens Sri Lanka's tea future

K. Sagunthaladavi picks tea leaves at the Court Lodge estate near Nuwara Eliya. (Photo by Simon Roughneen)

NUWARA ELIYA, Sri Lanka -- K. Sagunthaladavi, 36, has spent half her life among the waist-high bushes that cover the verdurous slopes of Sri Lanka's tea country, plucking hundreds of thousands of the green leaves used to make one of the world's oldest and most popular drinks.

     It is June, and the Yala monsoon is blowing, which means Sagunthaladavi is working hurriedly. "During the season I can take 30kg a day," she said. "Off season, 18, maybe 20(kg)."

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