By BS Reporter
Poor weather conditions led to a 1.7 per cent drop in tea production in India during the January-October period, according to latest figures released by the Tea Board of India.
At 12.31 million kg, North India (West Bengal and Assam) saw the sharpest decline in production. South India recorded a 3.70 million kg drop in output. Overall production during the period stood at 902.27 million kg, against 918.28 million kg in the corresponding period last year. In 2011, India’s tea production stood at 988 million kg. The annual rise in tea consumption in India is about three per cent and the cumulative deficit at the beginning of the next season is estimated at about 150 million kg. The Tea Board figures factor in some of the bought leaf factories output; till recently, only the organised sector was accounted for. The industry feels if the bought leaf output is considered, growth in consumption could be higher.
“Prices have moved up and this reflects the strong consumption growth,” said Aditya Khaitan, managing director, McLeod Russel India. McLeod is the world’s largest bulk tea producer. The lower output was reflected in tea prices. The average price of North India tea in January-October was Rs 132.70 a kg, a rise of Rs 13.82 compared with the year-ago period, while the average price of South Indian tea was Rs 85.58, a rise of Rs 15.23. The average price of Darjeeling tea was Rs 382.8 a kg, a rise of Rs 41.43. The all-India average stood at Rs 118.40, up Rs 14.36 compared to the year-ago period.
The lower output in India was in line with global trends. In the January-October period, global tea production fell 2.1 per cent. Production in Kenya fell 2.5 per cent, while that in Sri Lanka declined 0.5 per cent. India, Sri Lanka and Kenya account for about 80 per cent of the global black tea production. China, primarily a green tea producer, recorded a 17 per cent rise in production.
During January-Sept-ember, tea exports from India were 22.7 million kg lower than in January-September 2011. The prices, however, were higher by about Rs 25.