New Delhi, Feb 9 (PTI) Missing the 1 billion kg production mark by a whisker, the country's tea output stood at 988.32 million kg in 2011, a marginal rise of 2 per cent over that in the previous year.
Tea exports fell by 3 per cent to 186.73 million kg in 2011, according to the official data.
The country had produced 966.40 million kg of the brew in the 2010 calender year, while it had exported 193.29 million kg of tea in the same period, the Tea Board said.
North India produced 747.44 million kg of tea in 2011 from 723.02 million kg in 2010, whereas output of the brew in South India declined to 240.88 million kg from 243.37 million kg in the same period.
According to experts, tea production increased in the early months of 2011 on account of higher production from plantations in North India due to ideal weather conditions till September, however, early winter in North-East India has affected the production in October-December 2011 quarter.
The apex body of tea producer associations, Consultative Committee of Plantations Association (CCPA), had forecast that India will miss its 1 billion kg production target in 2011.
Extremely dry weather during the October to early December period of 2011 in most North-East tea producing districts and early winter have affected production. In South India, erratic rains and cold weather are retarding crops, it had pointed out.
Similarly, Indian Tea Association Joint Secretary S Patra told PTI that output of the brew declined in the last month of 2011 on account of bad weather conditions in the main growing states of Assam and West Bengal.
Tea production declined by 13 per cent to 50.86 million kg in December 2011 compared to 58.74 million kg in the year-ago period.
India is the world's second-largest producer and the biggest consumer of tea.
Despite witnessing a decline in exports of the brew in the last calender year, shipments rose in December 2011 as well as in the first nine months of the current fiscal.
Tea exports rose by 31 per cent to 19.28 million kg in December 2011 from 14.74 million kg in the same period