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Tea production down by 43% in Jan in Assam

Supratim Dey  |  Kolkata/ Guwahati 

Assam tea industry has registered a sharp decline of almost 43 per cent in tea production in the month of January this year, as compared to the corresponding month in the previous year. The tea industry has attributed this sharp decline in production to “unfavourable weather condition”.

Moreover, the tea industry prognosticates the cumulative dip in tea production in Assam till March to be around 50 per cent as rainless weather condition prevailed till March. However, the silver lining is that “good flush (read production)” is expected in April as weather condition across Assam has improved since the onset of April. Nevertheless, the overall dip in tea production till April is feared would be around 20 per cent.

“Weather condition has been very harsh since October 2011 owing to which we are witnessing such drastic dip in production this year. However, we are expecting good flush in April as weather condition has improved now,” said Bidyananda Barkakoty, chairman of North Eastern Tea Association (NETA).

He added that even if production picks up in April, the shortfall till March would not be able to overcome and there would be an overall dip of at least 13 million kgs in the first flush (production till April), which amounts to around 20 per cent as compared to the corresponding period of last year.

As per the figures provided by the Tea Board of India, the total tea production in Assam declined by 1.46 million kgs in January this year, as compared to production in the same month last year, which is a decline of around 43 per cent.

Assam produced 1.96 million kgs of tea in January 2012, as compared to 3.42 million kgs of tea produced in January last year.

A sharp decline has been witnessed in Brahmaputra Valley where the dip was of 1.12 million kgs (55 per cent).

However, the industry is not pessimistic as it feels the decline in production of first flush could be overcome in later months if weather condition remains favourable as first flush amounts for just 10 per cent of total production of Assam tea in a year.

Barkakoty also said that had the weather condition been conducive in the fag end of last year, the Indian tea industry would have touched the magic figure of 1,000 million kgs of production. The total tea production in India last year was 937 million kgs.

Even though on the production front things aren’t very heartening, prices at auction centres are firm. Madhupur tea estate of Lakhimpur district received a record price of new season teas at Guwahati Tea Auction Centre (GTAC) on Wednesday.

The CTC tea of BP grade (grades partially determines the quality of tea at auction centres) was sold at Rs. 281per kg, which is an all time record for the year 2012. In the same sale, CTC tea of PD grade of Madhupur tea estate was sold at Rs. 236 per kg, which is an all time record at GTAC.

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First Published: Thu, April 12 2012. 00:45 IST