“Heavy rains in the last 10 -12 days of July coupled with floods is expected to bring down production by 8 per cent. But now that the intensity of rain has lessened and sunshine is there, the crop loss will not go up further. However, we will be able to gauge the final crop loss figure after flood water recedes, said Vivek Goenka, chairman, Indian Tea Association
Assam’s tea estates had produced 645.14 million kg of tea in 2018, accounting for nearly 49 per cent of the country’s total production of 1,338.63 million kg.
The situation in Assam deteriorated this week as floodwaters submerged 30 of the 33 districts in the state and death toll increased to 15. Altogether 4.29 million people in 4,157 villages are reeling under the impact of floods that have submerged 153,211 hectares of farmland in 30 districts. About 90 per cent of Kaziranga National Park is presently inundated.
Although planters are upset over the loss of crop, on the brighter side, black tea prices may move up in the coming months as there will be less supply. Prices of common variety black tea or CTC have remained depressed this year. “But once the news spreads that crop will be less, then buyers start picking up teas. This sudden movement in the market is expected to push up prices,” said an auctioneer, who did not wish to be identified.
Meanwhile, in the first five months of 2019 India produced 322 million kg of teas, 7 per cent more than that a year ago.