Darjeeling’s Dry Spell Ends Just in Time for Harvest

Tea plantation hills. Photo Credit: Thinkstock by Getty Images

After a long winter dry spell, widespread rainfall has brought delight to tea planters in sub-Himalayan West Bengal including Darjeeling, one of the highest tea-producing regions of the country, reports India’s The Economic Times. The rains are expected to give a heavy boost to the quality and quantity of the first flush.

Per Indian meteorological department statistics, Sikkim and the Sub-Himalayan region hills witnessed 30.6 mm of rainfall from March 1–15, which is 20% higher than usual for this period.

“The rainfall is expected to brighten overall [the] first flush scenario in [the] entire tea belt in sub-Himalayan West Bengal,” said R. Lochan, a veteran tea trader and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) North Bengal Chapter Chairman. The region including Darjeeling produces around 300 million kg of tea a year, around one fourth of the national yield.

Rains have continued to increase throughout the month, proving to be beneficial in stemming pest attacks as well. However, senior meteorologist G.N. Raha from the government’s India Meteorological Department cautions that hailstorms are possible.

“That can be disastrous,” said K.K. Mintri, Chairman of Terai Indian Planters Association, “as new and young leaves cannot withstand heavy impact of hails.”

Source: The Economic Times