The tea plantation sector in Assam and the northern part of West Bengal has been badly affected by heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding, said Tea Association of India, adding that the industry’s position stands very “tenuous” for the current season.
According to the data of the tea association, Assam and north Bengal tea industry accounts for around 80 per cent of India’s total production.
The association in a statement said that this region has been battered by the fury of the nature that has witnessed severe rainfall and flood situation the ferocity of which has not been witnessed in the recent times.
Crop output in Assam and West Bengal is estimated to have declined in a range of 11-21 per cent 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 cannot be ruled out too, the statement added.
"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 said.
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 per cent, 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 per cent of the total investment is fixed cost.
India's tea sector employs around 1.2 million workers and contributes 23 per cent to the global output.