Assam Welcomes Downpour

27553402_sKOLKATA, India – Tea is a tough little bush and with tenacity and pluck the Assam and West Bengal bushes survived the longest dry spell since 1988.

This week the millions of Assam bushes are reviving. The first flush is history and losses in yield will carry forward but the second flush harvest, which begins in mid-May, was saved by the downpour.

Rainfall was not uniform in the great Brahmaputra Valley and in in the northern reaches of West Bengal which lie in the shadow of the Himalayas but forecasts predicts the dry spell is broken. Output for the year is expected to be down at least 10%.

The first flush is the most valuable harvest but the bulk of India’s tea is plucked in late spring and summer.

Piyush Desai, chairman, Wagh Bakri Tea and president, Western India Tea Dealers Association, told the Economic Times that his company has supplies for the next one month period. “Hopefully within next one month supply side will improve,” said Desai.

A remaining concern is water levels in the region’s reservoirs. Assam derives 60% of its power from hydroelectric generators in dams and along its fast moving rivers.

“Our daily power shortfall varies between 200 MW and 250 MW, Power Minister Pradyut Bordoloi told the Times of India.

“The rivers have dried up. Hydel projects cannot produce power during the day. It is only during the evening, when some water accumulates in the reservoirs, that these projects are able to generate some power,” Bordoloi said.

It will take several weeks of rains to restore reservoir levels.

Source: Economic Times, Times of India