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Bad Weather, Global Woes Hit India’S Tea Production, Export

Date 10-September-2014
Subject Bad Weather, Global Woes Hit India’S Tea Production, Export

Tea production in India is facing the heat, quite literally. Adverse weather conditions - below than normal monsoon and high temperatures have severely hit the industry, with a whopping 18 million (average) lower yield during the first half of the year. On all-India level, production fell 4.5 percent to 381 million kg in first six months of 2014 from 399 million kg in same period year ago.

Changing weather pattern in the north India, especially in the eastern states is to be blamed. "Climatic changes such as prolonged dry period and peak monsoon are not conducive for the crop intake. Fluctuating seasons, global warming and sudden changes in weather impact tea gardens as much as our lives," United Planters Association of South India (Upasi) commodities head R. Sanjith told IANS.

July was a relatively better month for tea production. The Tea Board estimates 4.49 percent increase over July last year. But, the cumulative production in the seven months is down by 10.87 mkg, according to provisional figures. Till July this calendar, India produced 543.02 mkg against 553.89 mkg in the same period a year ago.

Meanwhile, geopolitical tensions between Ukraine and Russia, turmoil in the Middle East and the political chaos in Pakistan have dragged India's tea exports and India's tea exports to Pakistan are unlikely to achieve 20 million kg in fiscal 2015, says a report by Economic Times.

According to Tea Board data, from January-June, India's tea exports rose 6.7 percent from a year earlier to 94.53 million kg. India exported 225.76 million kg of tea in 2013-14. India is the world's second-biggest tea producer. It exports CTC (crush-tear-curl) grade mainly to Egypt, Pakistan and the UK.

If one analyses month wise prices of all tea at Indian auctions as stated by the board, then upto July this year tea price at all India level have fallen to Rs 124.20/kg (provisional) from Rs 128.86/kg in the same period last year. In South India, tea prices slipped to Rs 87.06/kg (provisional) from Rs 102.53/kg in the same period a year ago. Prices in North India also witnessed a dip to Rs 144.01/kg (provisional) from Rs 142.58/kg upto July 2013.

North India accounts for about 80 percent of India's tea production. India produced a total of 1,200 million kg in 2013 with northern states and southern states contributing 959 million kg and 242 million kg respectively.

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