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India - Assam tea output may drop 8% on rain, floods

Tea production in Assam is expected to decline 8 per cent this year owing to heavy rainfall and floods, said planters and industry executives. It has been raining incessantly in the northeastern state for the past 10 days and planters fear that if this situation continues for another week, output will be further hit.

Assam’s tea estates produced 645.14 million kg of tea in 2018, accounting for nearly 49 per cent of the country’s production of 1,338.63 million kg. “Heavy rains in July,  coupled with floods, will bring down production by 8 per cent. But if the rain does not stop within the next five-seven days, crop loss will be more,” said Vivek Goenka, chairman, Indian Tea Association. “Information trickling in from planters reveals that the tea estates located close to the Brahmaputra river have been flooded and the crop loss may be as high as 15 per cent, particularly in these estates.”

The situation in Assam deteriorated this week as floodwaters submerged 30 of the 33 districts in the state and death toll rose to 15. Altogether 4.29 million people in 4,157 villages are reeling under the impact of floods that have submerged 153,211hectares of farmland in 30 districts. About 90 per cent of Kaziranga National Park is inundated. “Excessive rains in July will take a toll on crop size,” said DP Maheshwari, managing director, Jayashree Tea & Industries. “There is no sunshine at all and, even if it is not raining, the sky is overcast with clouds. In July, bushes require a temperature of 35 degrees for producing teas. But the temperature is much lower now due to rains.”

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