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Tea output to cross 1 bn kg this year

BS Reporter  |  Kolkata 

The Indian tea industry expects the total production to exceed one billion kg this year, the highest ever recorded in India.

The latest figures released by the Indian Tea Association (ITA) show production till August is higher by 33 million kg. “It is safe to estimate that figures will surpass the previous best of 984 million kg, if the trend continues,” an industry representative said.

The industry achieved its highest production of 984 million kg in 2008. Last year, however, production had suffered significantly and was at 966 million kg, primarily due to weather conditions and pest attack. Possibly the unusually lower crop in the previous year is one of the reasons why despite a higher crop, the industry expects the pipeline shortage to continue.

State August Jan-August
2010 2011 2010 2011
Assam 78,635 84,080 283,136 318,397
West Bengal 27,535 27,148 134,869 137,528
North India 107,825 112,757 422,937 460,897
South India 14,909 14,250 161,960 157,703
Others 1,655 1,529 4,932 4,972
Source: Indian Tea Association                                                      (in thousand kg)

Typically, each year, consumption in India increases by 30 million kg. If the year ends with a crop higher by 34-32 million kg, which is the expectation, it will be good enough to make up for the increase in consumption. The increase in Assam and West Bengal is higher by 38 million kg. The crop in south India, is however, down by four million kg.

“If the year ends with a crop higher by 34 million kg, it will not be enough to make up for the shortage,” an ITA official said. Despite the increase, the trend shows that prices have been holding on.

The average all-India auction price is Rs 100.92 compared to Rs 93.98 last year. While the increase in Assam and Bengal is about Rs 8 a kg, in south India it is higher by Rs 3.15 a kg.

While India is at a production high, the trend in the rest of the world is divergent. World tea production is down by about 23 million kg, sans China. The production (green tea) in China is higher by 28 million kg this year.

First Published: Thu, October 13 2011. 00:50 IST