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North Indian tea output may be hit by shortage of 60 million kgs till June

The loss of the first and second flush crops, which produce the highest quality teas of the year, will undoubtedly impact the producers' revenue and may push tea prices higher, officials say.
Last Updated : 20 June 2024, 07:35 IST

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Kolkata: The North Indian tea industry is facing a production shortfall of 60 million kgs till June of the current crop year over the corresponding period last year due to adverse weather conditions, according to an estimate by a tea body.

The loss of the first and second flush crops, which produce the highest quality teas of the year, will undoubtedly impact the producers' revenue and may push tea prices higher, officials say.

The states of Assam and West Bengal, which comprise the North Indian tea industry, are experiencing a precarious situation. Excessive heat coupled with a rain deficit in May, followed by excess rainfall and a lack of sunshine, has severely impacted production.

Tea Association of India (TAI) president Sandeep Singhania estimated that the combined crop loss is estimated to be 60 million kgs by June compared to the previous year's output.

"As reported by the member tea estates of the association, the tea estates of Assam and West Bengal are estimated to be behind by around 20 per cent and 40 per cent respectively during May 2024 compared to last year," he said.

Data released by the Tea Board of India indicates a drop in production of around 8 per cent in Assam and around 13 per cent in West Bengal up to April 2024 compared to the same period last year.

TAI said IMD data showed significantly less rainfall between 50 and 80 per cent in the major tea-growing districts of West Bengal and between 10 and 30 per cent in Assam compared to the normal rainfall for the period.

Detailing further about the adverse weather conditions, the TAI noted that the tea-growing districts of Assam and West Bengal received the southwest monsoon a week earlier and during the first half of June, the tea-growing districts of West Bengal and Assam experienced significantly higher rainfall.

According to data from the India Meteorological Department, West Bengal received 15-66 per cent more rain than usual, while Assam saw an increase of 3-20 per cent compared to the average for the month, Singhania said.

Excessive rainfall coupled with practically no sunshine during the day has hampered crop production in both states, affecting the first and second-flush teas, which fetch the best prices in any tea crop year, the official said.

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Published 20 June 2024, 07:35 IST

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