Drought to shrink tea output in south India by 10 percent – report

Drought conditions and the current heatwave is expected to hit the tea crop this year in India’s south, planters said.

“We see the drought impacting tea production significantly and expect the output to be lower by 10 per cent this year in South India,” N Dharmaraj, president of the United Planters Association of Southern India (UPASI), told the BusinessLine newspaper.

South India produced 227.5 million kgs of tea in 2015, accounting for around 20 per cent of the 1200 million kgs produced in the country, the newspaper said.

Hot weather conditions in states such as Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka has impacted tea production since February this year.

Production was lower by about 1.8 million kgs in February and around 2 million kgs in March. However, in April, the production further shrunk by 5-6 million kgs due to the aggravating hot weather in key producing regions, the newspaper quoted UPASI officials as saying.

Shrinking production has resulted in an increase in the price of black tea to around 104 rupees/kg, but producers said they did not benefit as it was still lower than the cost of production at between 120-130 rupees/kg.

 

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