South India’s tea production till now dips 13 pct

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Published: July 19, 2019 1:23:02 AM

Tea production in southern India has been on a decline from 2014 when production touched a peak of 242 million kg (m.kg). India is the second largest producer of tea in the world and contributes 26% to the global production.

South India, tea production,tea, tea production in india, tea board of india,UpasiThe shortfall is 11.2 m.kg or 13.2% over 2018. (File/ Agencies)

South Indian tea production is seen lower by more than 13% during the first five months of 2019 and unlikely to recover the shortfall this year.

Tea production in southern India has been on a decline from 2014 when production touched a peak of 242 million kg (m.kg). India is the second largest producer of tea in the world and contributes 26% to the global production.

Tea production in the southern states during the first five months of the year is seen at 75.5 m.kg, against 87 m.kg in the same period of 2018. The shortfall is 11.2 m.kg or 13.2% over 2018.

R Sanjith, commodities head of the United Planters’ Association of Southern India (Upasi), told FE that the shortfall in production was unlikely to be recouped and the deficit may touch 15% with indications that June shortfall is likely to touch 2.5 m.kg.

“The ideal climate conditions for tea is sunshine with showers. This usually happens during April and May when we get summer showers. We are not having the conducive climatic conditions which augur for crop production. As mentioned April, May being a peak production season, that being lost, recouping the crop is difficult.”

Sanjith believes that the decline in production has to do more with climate issues rather than area under tea or other factors. Upasi data shows that South Indian tea production has a share of 17% in the total Indian tea production , while in exports the share of south Indian tea is around 40 %.

During 2014 , tea production in South India touched 242.1 m.kg and had been on a steady decline from there, Sanjith said. It touched a low of 212.9 m.kg in 2016. Erratic climate has been a major concern for plantations in India with number of rainy days seen decreasing with the total volume of rainfall seen the same during the monsoon. Heavy rains and drought-like conditions are seen frequenting the plantation regions leading to lower yield.

One of the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and other studies is that frequency of extreme weather events ( heavy rainfall included) are increasing due to global warming in several parts of the globe including India.

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