The Telegraph
Saturday , April 5 , 2014
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Bland Bengal flavour in Feb tea output

Calcutta, April 4: Domestic tea production has grown 10.39 per cent in February to 15.30 million kg from 13.86 million kg a year ago, according to figures released by the Tea Board.

However, the output of Bengal has dropped 37.14 per cent to 0.88 million kg from 1.40 million kg in February 2013 owing to inclement weather.

Total production of the brew from Darjeeling fell to 0.01 million kg from 0.77 million kg. The output in the Dooars hovered at 0.51 million kg, while Terai produced 0.36 million kg against 0.23 million kg a year ago.

Assam, one of the largest tea growing states, registered a marginal growth in crop quantity at 0.23 million kg against 0.13 million kg. Assam Valley’s production stood at 0.19 million kg against 0.11 million kg in February 2013, while the contribution from Cachar stood at 0.04 million kg against 0.02 million kg.

This takes the total north Indian crop to 1.13 million kg compared with 1.54 million kg the region had produced in February 2013.

“Rainfall is needed in February for production to proceed normally in March. There is a crop shortage in March because of the lack of rains in some regions,” said Sujit Patra, joint secretary, Indian Tea Association.

Planters have already sounded an alarm after erratic weather and inadequate rainfall have led to lower crop quantity. Prices are expected to go up owing to a supply crunch and a hike in wages in the negotiations with the unions that will take place after the polls.

Production in south India grew 15.01 per cent to 14.17 million kg in February.

Contributions from Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka were higher at 10.19 million kg, 3.53 million kg and 0.45 million kg, respectively.

Meanwhile, in January-February, total crop rose marginally to 35.93 million kg from 35.78 million kg in the year-ago period. The output of southern states stood at 30.96 million kg compared with 31.44 million kg a year ago. Tamil Nadu was the largest contributor at 21.68 million kg, down from 22.35 million kg a year earlier.

Bengal’s production went up to 3.73 million kg, higher by 0.38 million kg.

Domestic production in 2013 grew 6.5 per cent to 1,200.04 million kg from 1,126.33 million kg in the previous year.