Change In Climate Conditions Shakes Assam

The Economic Times has reported the due to irregular weather, this season’s second-flush tea production in Assam, West Bengal, and Tripura will be negatively affected. In some cases, tea prices have risen by as much as $0.45/kg and could rise even higher by the end of the year.

Cachar District

Cachar District

The region of Assam reported a 2.2% spike in tea production during the January-May 2013 as compared to January – May of 2012. However, the regions of Cachar and Tripura have recorded a negative growth of 8.2% and 21.1% respectively.

AN Singh, chairman of the Indian Tea Association (ITA), has stated, “Cropping trend has been extremely mixed this year. Factors retarding crops are extremely high temperature, delayed monsoons and an uneven distribution of rainfall and the prevalence of pest in some areas.”

Late and unpredictable rainstorms coupled with high temperatures have been plaguing Assam. Temperatures as high as 105 degrees Fahrenheit are slowing down the photosynthetic and metabolic processes within the tea plants.

Conversely, some Northern tea estates are experiencing issues with flooding and topsoil erosion, having received over 6 inches of rain in 2 hours’ time. “But in certain areas, rain are yet to arrive,” said Singh.

Azem Monem, director of McLeod Russel, added that the first-flush production earlier in the year was unexpectedly high compared to previous year. “But now blenders are using poor quality tea which is in surplus. Therefore, consumers will not get better quality teas. There will be a dearth of quality teas now. Hopefully, from July-end, the situation will improve. However, prices will be on the higher side this year,” he said. Nevertheless, Monen remains optimistic about the exporting of Assam teas.

“It is true that Kenyan production has gone up and the country has taken full advantage of it this year. But their production is now over. For the rest of the year, buyers will have to depend on Assam teas and we are hopeful to have sizeable exports this year,” said Monem.

SOURCE: The Economic Times