Calcutta, Oct. 16: The Tea Board is expecting a 2-2.5 per cent rise in production of the crop this year, against 1,126.33 million kg in 2012, on the back of good weather conditions and a steady increase in contributions from small growers.
“Annual consumption is growing at the rate of 2-3 per cent. Production also has to grow in the same line. The Tea Board expects average growth in production to be around 2-2.5 per cent this year. There is still a shortage of quality tea, but its demand is growing,” said Tea Board chairman M.G.V.K. Bhanu.
The board has taken several initiatives to raise the quality of tea from small growers and collectivise them for greater accountability.
Small growers, currently contributing 35 per cent to the total production in the country, are those with less than 25 acres under cultivation.
Earlier last month, Bhanu had said domestic prices were expected to be higher, but not exorbitantly steep. Meanwhile, prices from exports were already at a 25 per cent premium over the previous year.
According to Indian Tea Association chairman Arun N. Singh, production till August was ahead by approximately 40 million kg.
Prices of top quality tea in auctions have increased, while that of the crush, tear, curl (CTC) variety have been down by Rs 5 a kilogram.
Meanwhile, Wagh Bakri Tea Group, the country’s third largest packaged company, today pegged growth at a higher mark of 5 per cent at 1,180 million kg.
“Till August, growth in tea production has been above the compounded annual growth rate of the last three years. For the full year, we expect growth of around 5 per cent, which will translate into production of around 1,180 million kg,” said Paras Desai, executive director, Wagh Bakri Tea Group.
“Together with imports of about 20 million kg, total tea supply will be about 1,200 million kg this year,” Desai said.