Assam and West Bengal’s tea production have been struggling with the weather conditions since the beginning of this year. Cold and dry weather conditions have been prevailing in most of the areas. Planters have reported that the weather is going to impact on first flush teas that are produced between mid-February and March.
Vivek Goenka, chairman of the Indian Tea Association said, “The dry spell is continuing in most parts of Assam and West Bengal. There have been some rains in Jorhat, Tinsukia and Dibrugarh areas this week but that is not sufficient. The rainfall was between 2 mm and 7 mm. Ideally, the tea estates should receive 25 mm rains for better production of first flush teas.”
“The cold weather was still prevailing in the tea estates. Unless the temperature moves up, there will be no rains. This cold weather should not continue for long,” said Azam Monem, director of McLeod Russel.
However, planters are upbeat about the quality of teas that will be produced from the beginning of the season, as the estates were closed in early-December following a Tea Board directive. This gave them time to prune tea bushes properly and therefore the new leaves will be of better quality than normal.
Monem also added, “There were still 11 million kilogram of teas from last year that are lying at the auction centers and yet to be sold. Since there was no production in January and very little production in December, it will be easier for these teas to get absorbed in the system till the first flush teas come to the market. This augurs well for the industry.”
Assam and West Bengal had produced 5.29 million kg of teas in January 2018. Monem said, “This tea will not be there in the market this time.”