Agri Business

India’s tea production heading for a crash

Our Correspondent Coonoor | Updated on October 01, 2020 Published on October 01, 2020

There are clear indications that India’s tea production in the current calendar year will crash by the largest decline, on a year-on-year basis.

Lockdowns and adverse weather conditions, especially in the North East and West Bengal, have pulled down production drastically so far.

“The Tea Board has now announced the data for August, which shows that tea production in the country that month had fallen by 12.50 million kg (mkg) or 7.26 per cent over August 2019,” Rajesh Gupta, compiler of Global Tea Digest, told BusinessLine.

“Our compilation of this data from various producing regions shows that India’s tea output in the first eight months of this calendar years nosedived to 669 mkg from 821.42 mkg in January-August 2019,” he said.

This marked a shortfall of 152.42 mkg or 18.56 per cent.

The decline was acute in North India, where the plantations were closed for winter till February, and then faced adversities due to the nationwide lockdown to fight against Covid-19.

“North India’s production till August crashed to 533.48 mkg from 684.45 mkg in January-August 2019,” Gupta said.

This meant that North India accounted for as much as 150.97 mkg out of the country’s total shortfall of 152.42 mkg in eight months.

In other words, North India lost a 22.06 per cent of its last year’s output in this period.

All the tea-producing regions in the North comprising Assam and West Bengal reported a lower output, but Assam continued to top the country’s production table with 308.92 mkg — down by as much as 106.27 mkg or 25.60 per cent.

“South Indian output declined marginally to 135.52 mkg from 136.97 mkg in January-August 2019, marking a loss of 1.45 mkg or 1.06 per cent,” Gupta noted.

Here, Tamil Nadu produced 93.01 mkg against 96.25 mkg in January-August 2019, accounting for a decline of 3.24 mkg or 3.37 per cent.

On the contrary, Kerala posted a gain of 1.37 mkg (3.62 per cent) to reach 39.22 mkg from 37.85 mkg.

“It is impossible to make good this massive loss of 152.42 mkg in the remaining four months,” a tea planter said.

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Published on October 01, 2020
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