Guwahati, July 12: Heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding in Assam and the northern part of West Bengal have affected the tea plantation sector, said the Tea Association of India, adding that the industry’s position stands very “tenuous” for the current season.
The tea industry in Assam and north Bengal accounts for around 80 percent of India’s total production.
“This region has been battered by the fury of nature that has witnessed severe rainfall and flood situation the ferocity of which has not been witnessed in the recent times,” the association said in a statement which is undersigned by Secretary-General P.K. Bhattacharjee.
Crop output in Assam and West Bengal is estimated to have declined in a range of 11-21 percent year-on-year in June.
Further to the output loss, the tea industry has recently been impacted by a rise in wages by Rs 30 per day in north Bengal, it said. A rise in wages in Assam also can not be ruled out too.
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“The drop in the production is because of lowering of the average maximum temperature by 1.50C in June 2022 resulting in lower average sunshine hours to the extent that some of the regions witnessed no sunshine in total 11 days out of 30 days in June 2022,” the statement added.
Widening of diurnal temperature variations is usually detrimental to tender tea leaves. Adding to the industry woes, tea prices in the month of May in Brahmaputra Valley, Barak Valley, and Dooars and Terai regions have fallen by 15 percent, it claimed.
For several years now, India’s tea industry has been struggling with issues such as rising input costs, relatively stagnant consumption, and subdued prices. The tea business is cost-intensive, where 60-70 percent of the total investment is fixed costs.
India’s tea sector employs around 1.2 million workers and contributes 23 percent to the global output.