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40 pc drop in Assam’s tea output: Tea Board

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Guwahati, May 14 : The Tea Board of India has released data indicating a drop in production of around 40 percent in Assam upto the month of March 2024 as against the corresponding period last year.

“Owing to lack of rainfall and high temperature, the region has witnessed significant wilting of tea bushes, which indicates further crop loss in the coming months. It is estimated that if sufficient and well distributed rainfall is not received immediately, the crop loss may be to the tune of over 50 percent in the coming months,” Tea Association of India (TAI) secretary general Prabir Kumar Bhattacharjee stated.
“While the average rainfall in both Assam and West Bengal was significantly low in the month of February this year as against last five-six years, the data published by India Meteorological Department for the period March 1 to May 13 has shown significant less rainfall in the tune of 2 percent to 76 percent in the major tea growing districts of Assam and West Bengal as against normal rainfall received by the districts during the same period,” Bhattacharjee stated.
“Since, tea is a rain-fed crop, not receiving sufficient rain during these important months hampers the production of its premium first flush and second flush during this time and loss of crop during this period will severely affect the cash flows of the companies,” he stated.
“However, this loss of crop is not commensurate by strong price recovery. While there is a marginal improvement in All India auction average price in last two sales, the weekly average price of All India auction was almost Rs 6 to Rs 33 less in all sales starting this calendar year,” the TAI secretary general said.
“The strange phenomenon of drop in crop production with no concomitant rise in prices is in stark contrast to the 2020 scenario when drop in production due to Covid closure caused a sharp rise in realisation of tea prices,” he stated.
The industry, he said, stands at the crossroads,  where on one hand it is committed to produce a “compliant teas”, and therefore welcomes the recent flurry of notifications and actions initiated by the FSSAI authorities in notifying “chemicals” that are banned in tea.
IANS
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