Agri Business

Kerala’s tea output falls 36% in April-June period

V Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on July 10, 2019 Published on July 10, 2019

A prolonged drought and the absence of rain seems to have taken a toll on Kerala’s tea production this year as output has dropped by 36 per cent during the first quarter (April-June) of the current season. Industry sources attributed the reason for the fall in output to the vagaries of nature in the period between February and June.

Per the figures available with the Association of Planters of Kerala, tea production in the State during the period between April and June this year stood at 21.30 million kg compared to 25.25 million kg in the corresponding period last year.

Climate change impacted the cost of production, which was steadily going up. A higher input cost also pushed up the cost beyond manageable levels, sources in the sector said. The current production cost hovers well above ₹150/kg, whereas the average auction price realisation per kg was below ₹105, which is about ₹2 less than in the previous year.

Sources said the difference between the cost of production and price realisation has been adverse.

Normally, the first flush season in Kerala starts from the second half of April to first half of June. The second flush season commences from the second half of September to first half of November.

The climate change seems to be having an irreversible impact on tea plantations. The weather cycle in tea growing areas is unprecedented and has caused severe damages to the cropping pattern.

Moreover, abnormal weather conditions in and around Munnar between December 2018 and February this year also caused crop loss, which is estimated at about 15-20 per cent.

Published on July 10, 2019
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