Tea production across estates of the Dooars and Terai regions in West Bengal is likely to witness around 30-35 per cent year-on-year fall during this year so far as first and second flush yields dropped due to adverse weather conditions.

“In the Dooars and Terai region, first and second flush productions were down compared to last year as rain remained elusive till April. The region received rainfall during May-end after a long gap. And now, for the last nine days we have been witnessing continuous rain and no sunshine. Heavy rain and lack of sunlight adversely affect growth of tea bushes,” said Bijoy Gopal Chakraborty, President, Confederation of Indian Small Tea Growers’ Associations (CISTA).

According to the latest Tea Board India data, total production of Dooars and Terai region during January-April this year stood at 42.35 million kgs against 54.64 million kgs during the same period last year.

“In the region, tea production during this year so far is likely to be lower by around 30-35 per cent compared to the same period last year,” Chakraborty said.


Total production in the Dooars and Terai in 2023 stood at 427.53 million kgs, and of that around 64 per cent of the brew was produced by small tea growers.

Notably, Dooars and Terai contribute around 98 per cent to West Bengal’s total tea production. Last year Darjeeling produced only 6.1 million kgs against 6.93 million kgs in 2022.

Chakraborty said small tea growers are getting higher prices for their produce this year as production fell. Small tea growers sell around 80 per cent of their produce to bought leaf tea factories (BLFs). “Bought leaf factories are paying higher prices compared to last year while purchasing green leaf. However, we had expected that prices would be much higher,” the CISTA president said.

The Confederation of Indian Small Tea Growers’ Associations (CISTA), the apex body of small tea growers, has welcomed the West Bengal government’s proposed road map to achieve the MRL (Maximum Residue Levels) standards tea.

Quality issues

Small tea growers in north Bengal faced a crisis a couple of months ago as bought leaf factories had then stopped buying tea leaves from them over quality compliance issues. Following this, the state government has put forward a draft SOP (standard operating procedure) regarding the road map to prevent the use of banned chemicals on small tea plantations.

“We are imparting training to small tea growers in the compliance issue. We are expecting that before Durga puja (in October) we would be able to control the compliance matter and most of the small tea growers would be able to comply with the roadmap. The usage of banned chemicals has already reduced by a significant level,” Chakraborty added.