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Tea output takes a hit

Calcutta, July 4: Tea production dropped 11.82 per cent in May to 91.41 million kg from 103.67 million kg in the same period last year owing to inclement weather.

During January-May, total crop stood at 239.61 million kg, a negative growth of 8.51 per cent compared with the year-ago period, Tea Board data showed.

The shortfall in output continues from April when production had declined 24.47 per cent to 56.77 million kg. In a statement last month, the Indian Tea Association (ITA) had alerted that the rainfall in upper Assam decreased 55 per cent, while Darjeeling received 60 per cent less rain. For the Dooars, inadequate rainfall was in the range of 40-60 per cent. The ITA had apprehended that it would be difficult to make up for the decline in production in the poor weather conditions.

In its estimates, the Tea Board has highlighted that the output in Assam was down by 5.30 million kg during May this year. While Assam Valley produced 38.66 million kg (43.59 million kg), Cachar pitched in with around 3.55 million kg (3.92 million kg).

Bengal produced 21.63 million kg against 29.46 million kg in May 2013. For the five months, the state’s contribution stood at 59.52 million kg against 65.75 million kg last year. Darjeeling’s production fell 0.26 million kg to 0.58 million kg, while the Dooars and Terai produced 13.16 million kg and 7.89 million kg, respectively.

“May is part of the mainstream crop season. By the end of May and June, we enter the crucial second flush period. The ITA had predicted there is an excessive lower crop because of drought in the tea-growing belt. The Tea Board figures are also indicating a lower crop. The apprehension is that a major part of the crop from the organised sector has declined,” ITA additional secretary Sujit Patra said.

 
 
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