Agri Business

Frost hits Nilgiris tea

P. S. Sundar Coonoor | Updated on November 15, 2017

tea   -  Business Line





Frost has hit substantial tea area in the Nilgiris, the largest tea growing district in the south.

The minimum temperature at night in plantation pockets has been ruling in single digits for over 10 days now.

“Our initial reckoning is that about 600 hectares in the Nilgiris have suffered frost bite. In Korakundah region alone, nearly 150 hectares have been hit with minimum temperature dipping to minus 5 degrees Celsius.

“This belt is used to record minus temperature in December, but prolonged minus ruling in mid-January is unusual. We recognise this as fallout of global warming phenomenon,” Mr D. Hegde, President, the United Planters' Association of Southern India, told Business Line.

Production loss

“We are collecting data from different regions on plant and crop loss. Already, 12 per cent of large estates have suffered frost bite. With green tea leaf arrival for processing having dwindled drastically, many factories are working only once in two days,” he noted.

“Based on our survey of different tea areas, we anticipate 20 per cent production loss in the Nilgiris this month due to frost,” Tea Board member, Dr S. Ramu, said.

“The frost bite has been both extensive and intensive. Almost every tea growing zone has been affected. The damage is severe in low lying areas. Apart from loss of immediate crop, growers have to wait for at least three months before normal harvest can happen”, he disclosed.

Arrivals

The low production is reducing the arrival to the auctions. At Coonoor Tea Trade Association auctions held this week, only 11.39 lakh kg was offered which is a 15-week low volume.

The low offer helped average price to rise to Rs 70.66 a kg from Rs 68.30 last week, but the overall earnings dropped to Rs 6.92 crore from Rs 8.56 crore.

This meant that in just one week, auction earnings have dropped by Rs 1.64 crore or 19.16 per cent.

Published on January 24, 2012

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