Assam has produced record number of tea but there is no cheer as everyone involved in the tea business knows that future is doomed as there is higher supply than the demand and as a result the price is going down knocking off the players and putting a big question mark to its future.
Assam produced 691.98 million kg (mkg) of tea in 2018, the highest-ever tea production in the State. But all are in serious tension as the 700 odd major tea gardens and 1.5 lakgh small tea grower’s future is at stake and Assam Government seems to be completely oblivious of what is about to come. The Tea Board of India said there is a 2.48 per cent increase over that of 2017
“The highest-ever production is another success story for the tea industry of Assam. But we are extremely worried about stagnant prices of tea. While the cost of tea production is increasing every year, the prices refuse to go up,” an official in the industry said.
“Consumption of tea has also not gone up over the years in Assam and the rest of India. The youths are not attracted to tea as the most preferred drink. So, what good the industry will do with such high production of tea,” a senior official an auction house said.
India also registered highest-ever tea production with 1338.63mkg in 2018 as compared to 1321.76mkg in 2017, an increase of 1.28 per cent.
South India has, however, registered a drop of 4.17 per cent in tea production as compared to that of 2017. West Bengal registered a 2.47 per cent increase as compared to that of 2017.
Wit tea major Mcleod Russel offloading the gardens and in the Northern Bank they have refused to buy from the STGs, there has been strong panic amongst the tea community as there will be over production from the month of June and there will be no takers which will severely affect the green tea leaves.
“This is an extremely serious condition and worst that Assam Government has no interest to save it and has not interfered in it” said Mr Debabrta Medhi, A small tea grower.