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Tea plucks rich harvest in 2016

Tea production has hit a three-year high at 1,239.15 million kg in 2016, an increase of 2.52 per cent from 1,208.66 million kg a year ago.

By Abhranila Das in Calcutta
  • Published 13.02.17
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Calcutta, Feb. 12: Tea production has hit a three-year high at 1,239.15 million kg in 2016, an increase of 2.52 per cent from 1,208.66 million kg a year ago.

"Despite the climatic changes, this year most tea-growing areas did not suffer from unfavourable weather conditions and that resulted in a bumper crop," said Vivek Goenka, vice-chairman of the Indian Tea Association.

Output in December stood at 62.74 million kg, up 9.51 per cent from 57.29 million kg in the same period last year.

North India's annual production surged 4.67 per cent to 1,026.94 million compared with 981.09 million kg a year ago. The December crop for the region also increased 10.33 per cent to 47.10 million kg from 42.69 million kg in 2015.

Bengal contributed 357.47 million kg to the annual output, of which 8.13 million kg was from Darjeeling. In 2015, the state produced 324.50 million kg of which Darjeeling's contribution was 8.76 million kg.

"The main increase in crop was led by the unorganised or small grower segment although the organised sector or estates also did well," said Sunil Munshi, chairman and managing director of Andrew Yule and Company.

In December last year, Bengal yielded 21.71 million kg, up 20.94 per cent from 17.95 million kg a year earlier. Darjeeling produced 0.12 million kg, 9.09 per cent more against 0.11 million kg a year before.

"The major reason for the dip in Darjeeling tea (growth) is the weather. Last year, till April, we had scanty rainfall resulting in the loss of the prime first flush tea and with that we could never recover. Moreover, the absence of workers have increased almost 30 per cent leading to further loss," Ashok Lohia, chairman of Chamong Group, told The Telegraph.

Assam's annual yields in 2016 increased 1.73 per cent to 642.18 million kg from 631.22 million kg a year ago.

In December 2016, the production was up marginally to 23.89 million kg from 23.74 million kg in the corresponding month of the previous year.

"Except Upper Assam, which was hit by bad growing conditions because of heavy rains, pest attacks and fungal diseases on the bushes, the rest of Assam, including north bank, did well and was up 20 per cent in 2016," said C.S. Bedi, MD of Rossell India.