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Insufficient rainfall and excessive heat impact tea production in Assam and West Bengal

BNE News Desk , June 22, 2024
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Guwahati: The tea industry in Assam and West Bengal is facing a significant setback due to insufficient rainfall and excessive heat during the current cropping season, according to industry sources who were cited by regional media.

As per reports, the Tea Association of India (TAI) has reported a notable drop in tea production in these regions, raising concerns about the future of the tea market.

Data from the Tea Board of India reveals that up to April this year, tea production in Assam has decreased by approximately 8 percent, while West Bengal has seen a more substantial decline of around 13 percent compared to the same period last year.

TAI President Sandeep Singhania highlighted the severe impact of adverse weather conditions, stating that the lack of rainfall and high temperatures have caused considerable wilting of tea bushes, potentially leading to further crop losses in the coming months.

Reports from member tea estates indicate that the growers in Assam and West Bengal are experiencing a production shortfall of around 20 percent and 40 percent respectively during May compared to the same period last year. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has also confirmed that from March 1 to May 31, major tea-growing districts in West Bengal received 50 percent to 80 percent less rainfall, while Assam saw a deficit of 10 percent to 30 percent compared to normal levels.

TAI reports that during the first fortnight of June, West Bengal received 15 percent to 66 percent more rainfall, and Assam saw an increase of 3 percent to 20 percent compared to normal levels. Despite the increased rainfall, production in West Bengal is still lagging by 25 percent to 40 percent, and Assam is behind by 10 percent to 15 percent compared to last year.

The combined fall in tea production by the end of June is projected to be around 60 million kilograms less than the same period last year. The lost crop predominantly comprises the first and second flush, which are considered the best-quality teas of the year. This shortfall is expected to have a severe impact on the revenue of tea producers for the year, Singhania noted.

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