Agri Business

Nilgiri tea estates await arrival of NE monsoon

PS Sundar Coonoor | Updated on October 30, 2020 Published on October 30, 2020

Although the Met department has confirmed the commencement of the North-East (NE) monsoon, tea plantations in Coonoor, Kotagiri and Kundah taluks in the NE belt of The Nilgiris are waiting for rains.

“As shadow benefit, some regions in the NE belt received showers during the recent South-West monsoon period. This had increased the moisture in the soil and we expect the crop to be harvested for one more week, but thereafter unless we receive NE monsoon, the harvest of the green leaf will be severely affected”, Ramesh Chander, President, The Nilgiris Small Tea Growers’ Association told BusinessLine.

Chilly air impedes growth

“Besides, in Kotagiri taluk, for the past week, a dry chillness settles down by dusk retarding the growth of leaves on tea plants. This is typical winter weather which usually happens only in December-January. If NE monsoon brings rain, chillness will vanish and leaf growth will pick up. Everything depends on NE monsoon”, he explained.

“In any case, in the week starting November 9, Diwali celebrations begin in the villages which would reduce the manpower for harvest in tea estates. Even if rains come now, the crop would be available for harvest only after Diwali. So, collectively, we hope better crop situation after Diwali”, he detailed.

“We are waiting for NE monsoon for harvest of fresh leaves ahead of winter quality season to manufacture speciality teas”, said G Udayakumar, Director, Speciality tea major Avataa Beverages in Billimalai Estate near Coonoor.

Avataa Speciality Tea Production’s Executive ENR, Vejayashekara, said: “More importantly, rains during NE monsoon will augment the succulence in the leaves and improve the quality of the green leaf. Teas manufactured with these leaves will make the forthcoming winter teas premium products.”

“We have orders to be fulfilled for both domestic and export markets and are waiting for copious rainfall during the forthcoming NE monsoon”, he disclosed.

Tea Board’s Executive Director, M Balaji, has sent Advisory guidelines to growers on the various cultural practices they should follow covering pruning, zinc deficiency, manuring, plucking, controlling blister blight disease, new planting, re-planting and weeding to augment the production of quality green leaves.

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Published on October 30, 2020
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