Weather may Hit this Year’s Tea Pro­duc­tion

While there has been no rain in Dar­jeel­ing gar­dens & Dooras, As­sam is fac­ing in­ces­sant rains

The Economic Times - - Commodities Plus - Su­tanuka.Ghosal @times­

Kolkata: Er­ratic weather con­di­tions in the ma­jor tea pro­duc­ing re­gions of Dar­jeel­ing, Dooars and As­sam is likely to pull down tea pro­duc­tion this year by 5-10%, in­dus­try ex­ec­u­tives said.

Dar­jeel­ing and parts of Dooars are wit­ness­ing a dry spell. On the other hand, tea gar­dens in As­sam are fac­ing in­ces­sant rains, which may bring down tea pro­duc­tion in April by at least 10% from a year ago. “Dar­jeel­ing gar­dens are the worst hit. There is no rain in the area that pro­duces the finest of In­dian teas,” said AN Singh, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, Goodricke Group. “Ideally, by this time the gar­dens should have re­ceived 10 inches of rain­fall. The gar­dens had re­ceived

some 2 inches of spo­radic rain­fall in March which was not enough.”

This con­tin­u­ous dry spell has al­ready af­fected the fa­mous first flush Dar­jeel­ing teas that are sold mostly over­seas. “It is go­ing to af­fect the sec­ond flush as well,” Singh said. The 87 tea estates in Fall in tea dust prices

Dar­jeel­ing pro­duce 8.5-9 mil­lion kg an­nu­ally. A part of Dooars has also not re­ceived rain which too will take a toll on the crop size, in­dus­try ex­ec­u­tives said.

“While the dry spell is af­fect­ing tea pro­duc­tion in Dar­jeel­ing and Dooars, ex­ces­sive rains in As­sam has be­come a mat­ter of con­cern to planters,” said Aditya Khai­tan, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of McMeod Rus­sel In­dia. “A clearer pic­ture on the ex­tent of crop dam­age will emerge by the month end. But def­i­nitely there will be some crop loss in the sec­ond half of April.”

Singh puts the crop loss at 5-10%. “We are also wor­ried over pest at­tack due to this er­ratic weather con­di­tion,” he said. In­dia had pro­duced 75.61 mil­lion kg of tea in April 2015. Mean­while, prices of new-sea­son teas have dropped at the auc­tions in com­par­i­son with last year. CTC prices are down by 7.64% while dust tea is fetch­ing 3.5% less. Khai­tan said that since pro­duc­tion was high, buy­ers were on a wait-and-watch mode, which has af­fected prices. “But in April, pro­duc­tion will be lower. Prices will re­main firm,” he said.

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