Pest attacks may eat into India's tea production this year

New Delhi, Aug 24 (PTI) India''s tea production may be slightly less this year year because of lower production in Assam due to excess rain and pest attacks.
"Tea production is set to fall slightly. But, it is difficult to peg the decline now," an industry official said.

Quoting the Tea Board data, the official said that during the first five months of the current year ending May, domestic tea output increased by 8.8 per cent to 234.93 million kg against 215.84 million kg in same period last year.
However, production started falling soon after. The June output was lower by 11.8 per cent to 104 million kg narrowing the first five month''s gains of 19 million kgs down to just 4-5 million kgs over the same period last year, he said.
Indian Tea Association has already mentioned production in Assam, the largest producing state, is likely to fall by two million kgs in July as all the major tea groups operating there reporting significantly lower output.

"It is apprehended that with this decline and with the outlook in August also reportedly uneven - with poor weather persisting in several parts - it would be difficult to make up the already significant decline of 10 million kgs which has been registered to date in North India," it added.

World''s largest tea producer McLeod Russel, however, said that India''s production is likely to remain stable at 975-980 million kgs in current year against 979 million kgs last year.

"North India may produce 15-20 million kg less tea during the year over the last year. However, South India is likely to fill in the gap with a better production than last year," its Chief Financial Officer Kamal Baheti said.

Baheti said that the North Indian production would dip as a result of excess rains and pest attacks, while South India would gain from favourable weather conditions.
Tea Board had earlier said that the production is likely to touch one trillion kg this year.

Source: PTI