Dry spell hits Assam, Bengal tea output

Our Correspondent Kolkata | Updated on June 05, 2014 Published on June 05, 2014

Shortage could be 23 million kg, says ITA

The Indian Tea Association (ITA) said on Thursday that “very adverse weather conditions” in April and May took a toll on the North Indian – Assam and Bengal – tea production.

It estimated that output shortage in its member plantations could be 23.35 million kg (mkg) over the corresponding months in 2013.

According to ITA estimates, its member tea estates produced 59 mkg in April- May against 82.35 mkg in the same period a year ago.

It further said that if the output of estates other than those of its members, small growers, and bought-leaf factories are taken in to account, the shortfall might reach 50 mkg. In a statement, ITA said that in April and May all tea districts in Assam Valley witnessed unprecedented production decline because of the dry spell.

Crop in Assam Valley has declined by around 40 per cent during April and 30 per cent during May. Poor availability of leaf affected manufacturing operations in many tea estates, ITA said. “All the major tea groups have reported significantly lower leaf and production. Similar trends are prevailing in the small growing sector. It is feared that with this crop decline and poor weather conditions it would be very difficult to make up the decline particularly when El Nino threat is looming large”, ITA observed.

In the context of domestic demand growth of three per cent (25 to 30 mkg) a year, a wave of fresh demand may hit the tea market pushing up tea prices.

Escalation in the cost of field and factory inputs, rise in pest infestation, impending wage revision, would increase the cost of production, ITA said.

Published on June 05, 2014
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