India's tea output up 9% in March

NEW DELHI: Tea production in India, the world's largest grower, rose by nine per cent to 49 million kg in March, 2010, as against 45 million kg in the corresponding month last year, the Tea Board said today.

Similarly, tea exports increased to 17.96 million kg in March from 14.22 million kg in the same period of 2009, it said.

"Production has started picking up in the northeastern region from March. We expect good output in the coming months, as small growers are focusing on plantation," an official with the Tea Board said.

There has been a slight increase in output both in North and South India, he said.

According to official data, tea production in the plains of West Bengal and Assam, which harvest the best quality tea leaves in the world, increased to 29.82 million kg in March from 27.34 million kg in the same month last year.

Output in the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka also improved to 19.17 million kg from 17.69 million kg in the review period, it said.

Cumulative production of tea in the first three months of 2010 rose by 16 per cent to 94 million kg against 81 million kg a year ago, it added.

In the 2009 calendar year, India's tea output stood at 979 million kg, against 981 million kg in the previous year.

Tea production is an annual cycle. The country has 5,79,000 hectares of land under tea cultivation, of which 1.53 lakh hectares is handled by small growers.

According to the Tea Board, the country is estimated to have shipped 200 million kg in the 2009-10 fiscal, against 190 million kg in the previous year.

Source: PTI