Agri Business

Excess rains seen impacting tea output in Nilgiris

PS SUNDAR Coonoor | Updated on January 22, 2018

The continuous rains in the Nilgiris over the past month is seen impacting tea output in the region triggering concerns among planters and factory owners.

“In past fortnight, tea fields have not had sunshine at all. The continuous rains have reduced the healthy growth of tea leaves. Since Diwali, the weather has not been conducive for tea cultivation,” said H Thiagarajan, President, The Nilgiris Small Tea Growers’ Association.

The North-East monsoon was active in the Nilgiris last month making all agro-climatic zones, including tea plantations, receive a higher rainfall than in November 2014 and even the decennial (10-year) average for the month.

In November, Kotagiri received the highest rainfall of 39.1 cm (November 2014: 20.8 cm; decennial average: 29.8 cm), followed by Kundah 33.4 cm (14.8 cm; 22.7 cm), Coonoor 28.4 cm (18.8 cm; 26.7 cm), Kullakamby 27.4 cm (16 cm; 25 cm) and Ooty 27.4 cm (4.2 cm; 10.7 cm).

The cumulative rainfall in the 11 months was less than January-November 2014 in all zones except Coonoor and Kotagiri but the decennial average for the period was higher in all zones, meteorological sources sais.

“What the tea bushes badly need now is a halt of rains and spell of sunshine for a few hours daily. The low lying areas of the Nilgiris suffer from frost in December and January. If that happens, our harvest will come down further. Already, because of the rains, growers are unable to pluck,” Thiagarajan added.

Tea factories in the region are reporting of low arrival of leaves for processing due to the rains.

“The continuous rains have reduced the arrival of the tea leaves in factories by nearly 50 per cent. Most factories are functioning only for four days a week. All factories are operating on a single shift system”, Ramesh Bhojarajan, President, The Nilgiris Bought Leaf Tea Manufacturers’ Association, said.

Tea companies in the Nilgiris have reported to Tea Board that their production remained flat at 1.16 million kg in November compared to November 2014. However, helped by an increase in earlier months, they have reported that their cumulative production in the 11 months had risen to 14.71 mkg from 14.08 mkg in the same months of 2014.

Reduced production is visible on the volume catalogued for auction at the Coonoor Tea Trade Association. The volume dropped to 11.12 lakh kg this week from last week's 12.10 lakh kg.

Published on December 11, 2015

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