TAI said, “After the aftermath of a prolonged period of lockdown and losing around 140 MKgs of Made Tea in the year 2020, the Tea industry in North India was hopeful for a fresh start in the year 2021. The situation has worsened due to the recent hailstorm in the Tea growing regions of North Bengal. The state of Assam has harvested only 0.23 Mkgs during the period of January-February 2021 as against 0.27 MKgs in 2020 and 0.44 Mkgs year before.”
While the Crop figure for the month of March is yet to be released by Tea Board, the figure is expected to lower by around 10-15% in the month of March and April 2021 as compared to 2019. Similarly, North Bengal has harvested only 1.92 Mkgs in the year 2021 as against 4.04 Mkgs in the year 2019 during January-February period. Assam valley has received only 14.2 mm of rainfall during January February 2021 as against 28.47 mm in the year 2020, similarly Cachar region of Assam has received only 4.15 mm rainfall as against 8.3 mm last year during the same period.
TAI added, “Terai region of North Bengal has only received 6.15 mm as against 19.1 mm last year during the same period. The situation has worsened during the months of March and April as reported by the Tea Estates of both States. Due to a shortage of supply during the lockdown phase, Tea prices witnessed a surge in prices for a brief period in the year 2020. However, the price rise could not be sustained for a long period and Auction prices subsequently declined sharply in the last few Auction sales in 2020. However, the increase in Tea prices in 2020 has been largely offset by the loss in production. The situation has worsened due to the widespread damage caused by the recent Hailstorm in the Tea growing regions of North Bengal. Plantations such as Chengmari TE, Ranicherra TE and Aryaman TE has reported extensive damage due to the Hailstorm on the night of 18.04.2021, as most of the mature and young tea bushes have been severally damaged. Extensive damages of labour houses have also been reported in Chengmari TE.”
TAI said that hailstorm is not uncommon during this season, but what has impacted the industry is the scale of damage. This is bound to retard the prospect of early flush and dent the overall production this year. “Assam produces around 4.5 % of its total crop in the month of March and around 6% in April which is around 32 Mkgs and 44 Mkgs respectively. Similarly, West Bengal also produces around 5.5 to 6 % of its total crop in the months of March and April amounting to around 23-25 MKgs respectively. The figure is expected to lower by around 10-15% in the month of March and April 2021 as compared to 2019. The Tea industry is again foreseeing grim days ahead, faced as it is with the onslaught of Natural calamities resulting in lesser crop”.