Tea production increased 2.2 per cent in 2011 to a record but lower crop in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu prevented it from touching the magic one-billion-kg figure.

According to Tea Board data, production increased to 988.32 million kg (mkg) against 966.40 mkg the previous year. The previous record production was witnessed in 2007 when the production was 986.43 mkg.


Output in West Bengal dropped to 226.36 million kg against 229.78 mkg a year ago, particularly with Terai region being a drag. Production in Terai dropped to 73.33 mkg against 76.35 mkg. Similarly, Dooars produced 143.23 mkg tea (144.56 mkg).

The West Bengal crop was hit by heavy rain during monsoon last year.

Darjeeling tea production increased to 9.7 mkg against 8.8 mkg a year ago.

Production in Assam increased over 28 mkg to 508.74 mkg with the Assam valley contributing an additional 31.93 mkg at 460.66 mkg (428.73 mkg). There was a 3 mkg drop in production in the Cachar region (40.97 mkg vs 51.55 mkg).


In South India, production dropped by 2.4 mkg to 240.88 mkg (243.37 mkg) with the crop being over 3 mkg lower in Tamil Nadu. Kerala reported a better crop, while there was marginal fall in Karnataka.

Tamil Nadu's crop was hit initially by a dry spell in the early parts of 2011 and then by wet spells and frost in the latter part of the year.

The country had targeted a production of 1 billion kg by 2010 but poor crop management due to lower prices and weather combined to cause setback.

After touching a record 986.43 million kg in 2007, tea production dropped to 980.82 mkg in 2008 and further to 978 mkg in 2009 and 966.40 mkg in 2010.

Higher prices following lower crop in Kenya and Sri Lanka led to better prices in 2010. This, in turn, led to better crop management and higher production last year.

However, exports are estimated to have dropped by over 6 mkg in 2011 to 186.73 mkg (193.29 mkg) as Kenya and Sri Lanka made a strong comeback. Problems in exports to Iran and Iraq also contributed to the drop, last year.

Source: Business Line