The Darjeeling tea industry is in “bad shape” as the production has been severely hit due to phases of lockdown and excessive rain in the hills, an official of the planters’ association said on Thursday. The garden owners are anticipating losses this year as the output will be lower than the annual production of about seven million kg, Darjeeling Indian Tea Association secretary Mohan Chhetri said.
Tea prices in the world's second-biggest producer India have jumped to a record after intense floods and coronavirus movement restrictions trimmed output in the main producing region. The price rise could support the beleaguered Indian tea industry which has struggled with rising production costs, but may limit New Delhi's exports and boost shipments from rivals such as Kenya and Sri Lanka, multiple trade sources said.
After exemption for purview of lockdown and resumption of all field operations, the actual production of tea in Assam has resumed with plucking of tea leaves today, but planters say that almost the entire crop of month of March, which is estimated to be about 30 million kilograms, have been lost and another 50 million kilograms of tea is estimated to be lost in April and May.
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.
The viability of Australia’s biggest tea grower is under threat following a year of extreme weather that has decimated crops. Two severe frosts, followed by a prolonged dry period over the past 12 months, have decimated the Nerada tea plantation in Far North Queensland, wiping out nearly 50 per cent of the black tea yield, the company has revealed.
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