Agri Business

Tea output in 2020 crashes by 10% due to lockdown

P S SUNDAR Coonoor | Updated on February 09, 2021

The prolonged lockdown induced by Covid-19 coupled with adverse weather, especially in the North East, has pulled down the country’s tea production in 2020.

“Tea Board has now released the data for December and our compilation shows that in 2020, India’s tea production nosedived to 1,255.60 million kg (mkg) from 1,390.08 mkg in 2019,” compiler of ‘Global Tea Digest’ Rajesh Gupta told BusinessLine.

This marked a whopping shortfall of 134.48 mkg or 9.67 per cent. This happened despite an increase in output in the South.

“North Indian production crashed to 1,034.06 mkg from 1,171.09 mkg, marking a huge decline of 137.03 mkg or 11.70 per cent,” Gupta said.

Assam continued to top the production table but after losing 98.14 mkg to dip to 618.35 mkg.

“South India, on the other hand, produced 2.55 mkg (1.16 per cent) more to reach 221.54 mkg from 218.99 mkg in 2019,” Gupta said.

However, this increase was far inadequate to offset the loss in North.

In the South also, Tamil Nadu lost 1.82 mkg to dip to 153.49 mkg from 155.31 mkg.

In effect, Kerala and Karnataka were the only states which posted an increase in output.

Average price for green leaf

Meanwhile, the Tea Board has announced that the district average price for green leaf of the small growers in The Nilgiris district during February is ₹21.65 a kg.

Tea Board’s Executive Director M Balaji said this was fixed based on the consolidated auction price of CTC teas from bought leaf factories in January.

The price fixed for January was ₹17.94 and so, this month’s price is ₹3.71 or 20.68 per cent more than last month.

As factories generally buy four kgs of green leaf to manufacture one kg of made tea, the growers will get around ₹15 more for every kg manufactured in February compared to last month.

However, the price is significantly more compared to February last year when the price was ₹13.10. This increase of ₹8.55 marked a gain of as much as 65.27 per cent.

Hence, compared to February last year, growers will now get about ₹32 more for every kg of manufactured tea this month.

Published on February 09, 2021

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