Global black tea production in current calendar is heading for a fall due to massive decline in Kenya, reveals an analysis of data.
“Till April, the latest period for which official data is available, global black tea production has fallen to 407.20 million kg (mkg) from 443.20 mkg in the four months of 2014. This fall of 36.08 mkg marks a decline of 8.12 per cent," Rajesh Gupta, compiler of annual Global Tea Digest, told BusinessLine .
In the four months, Kenya had lost as much as 46.64 mkg to produce 105.41 mkg. This marked a decline of a whopping 30.67 per cent. Last year, its production was a record 432.45 mkg but if the current decline rate continues unabated, its production in 2015 could crash to 2009 level of 315 mkg.
Kenya’s tea output plunged in the first quarter of 2015 from a year before due to dry weather conditions. Kenya is the world’s leading exporter of black tea. Exports, usually higher than output due to leftover stocks, fell 5 per cent in the period to 119.2 mkg down from 125.4 mkg over a similar period, the regulator said.
Other African countries – Malawi and Uganda – have also reported a lower output. Asian countries have produced more black tea so far this calendar but it is inadequate to offset the Kenyan loss.
“Indian production has risen by 6.90 mkg to 156.91 mkg, Sri Lankan by 8.35 mkg to 110.77 mkg,” Gupta noted.
Kenya accounts for 8-9 per cent of the global production and lower supplies of its teas – especially to CTC consuming countries – could create increased demand with concomitant price-rise for such teas from other suppliers, including India where production has increased.