Calcutta, April 4: Tea production dipped 20.96 per cent to 13.54 million kg in February against 17.13 million kg a year ago, brought about by poor rains.
According to the Tea Board, Bengal output fell 3.61 per cent to 1.60 million kg in February against 1.66 million kg in the corresponding period in the previous year.
Production at Dooars dropped 16.07 per cent to 0.94 million kg, while Terai's output went up 24.53 per cent to 0.66 million kg. Darjeeling did not produce any yield.
In February last year, production at Dooars stood at 1.12 million kg; Darjeeling, 0.01 million kg; and Terai, 0.53 million kg.
North India's yield fell 13.10 per cent to 1.99 million kg from 2.29 million kg a year ago.
"It is mostly the weather conditions especially low rainfall that has affected the production of Bengal," said P.K. Bhattacharjee, secretary-general, Tea Association of India.
"Till mid-March this year there was hardly any rainfall and that led to a drought-like situation in the hills resulting in crop loss," said S.S. Bagaria, former chairman, Darjeeling Tea Association.
Assam's yield dropped 38.60 per cent to 0.35 million kg in February from 0.57 million kg a year ago.
Assam Valley witnessed a major dip of 51.02 per cent to 0.24 million kg against 0.49 million kg last year. On the other hand, production in Cachar surged 37.50 per cent to 0.11 million kg from 0.08 million kg a year ago.
"Erratic weather conditions and a delay in rains is the reason for this decline. In fact, the crop in March is expected to be even worse in Assam," said Vivek Goenka, vice-chairman of the Indian Tea Association.
Produce in south India also slipped 22.17 per cent to 11.55 million kg for the month under review from 14.84 million kg in the same period a year ago.
Small tea growers and the bought leaf factories contributed 40.54 per cent, or 5.49 million kg, to the total production.