Brewing happiness, one cup at a time.

Lower Darjeeling tea crop feared due to erratic weather

by nirajadmin September 18, 2010 0 Comments

http://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/article697233.ece

Production of Darjeeling tea is set to be lower this year with erratic weather conditions cutting into the crop-size of one of India 's best-known commodities. The Darjeeling tea industry, which reported a 12 per cent lower crop between January and August this year may end up with a production of less than 8 million kg.

Tea Board Chairman Basudeb Banerjee confirmed to The Hindu that the Darjeeling crop would be down this year. Exporters, who had entered into forward contracts, are now having difficulty honouring them due to supply constraints.

Besides adverse weather conditions, the poor-productivity of the bushes has also contributed to the lower crop. The Darjeeling tea crop has been dwindling for long now, averaging at around 9 million kg annually. The Tea Board now carries out a trade chain audit necessary for the geographical indication (GI) protection that the premium tea now enjoys in the world markets. This has checked adulteration.

Darjeeling Tea Association Chairman Sanjay Bansal said this year (2010) would be one of the lowest crops in the last 40 years. The problem was triggered by a severe drought which started in October 2009 and continued till April 2010, when tea bushes got defoliated and leaves dropped off. The severity caught even senior planters by surprise.

As a result of this, the ‘first flush' tea, which comes around mid-May and contributes about 20 per cent of the crop, was down by about 35 per cent.

This is also the tea that fetches the best prices in the international market. The crop was lower in the ‘second flush' season too between June and July during which 30 per cent of the crop is harvested.

The two prime tea-seasons knocked off nearly 10 per cent of the output. The rains, which were scanty till June, started pouring excessively from July, with August getting just three days of sunshine. There are 87 tea estates in Darjeeling all of which are running now.

However, the weather was not the only reason behind the crop loss. Shifting to organic methods of production has also led to lesser crop. During 2010, as many as 35 Darjeeling gardens changed hands with some crops being lost in the transformation process.

While over the years, India has lost its primacy in the world tea market to Kenya, Sri Lanka and China, the demand for Darjeeling tea rules steady as its unique muscatel flavour cannot be replicated. Mr Bansal said prices had been high but the companies were witnessing drop in revenues due to supply-shortages.

The need of the hour is to go in for a massive replantation and rejuvenation drive as the average age of a tea-bush in Darjeeling is 80 years and the plants have lived their life. However the Special Purpose Tea Fund has not motivated the industry to take up replantation projects as the industry says that it needs a special package for the region.




nirajadmin
nirajadmin

Author




Also in Blog

Opening 2018 with some BIG news!
Opening 2018 with some BIG news!

by Niraj Lama January 01, 2018 0 Comments

Happy New Year!
Hope all of you are in good spirits with plenty of fine teas on hand to enjoy with family and friends. This time of year, gives us the chance to reflect on what is truly important.

Read More

Happy Woman for National Women's Hall of Fame
Happy Woman for National Women's Hall of Fame

by Niraj Lama August 23, 2017 0 Comments

Every time you buy our herbal blend Happy Woman, 10% of the proceeds will go to the National Women's Hall of Fame. Being based in Rochester, NY, a region that has a rich history in women's rights movement, we are certainly very proud and excited to be one of the sponsors of NWHF's induction ceremony that will take place this September.

Read More

The Teagirl of Hummingbird Lane
The Teagirl of Hummingbird Lane

by Niraj Lama August 09, 2017 0 Comments

In the Teagirl of the Hummingbird Lane, New York Times best selling novelist, Lisa See, pairs an epic Chinese tale of tragedy and triumph with one of the most intriguing type of tea, puerh. Even if you are not a tea drinker the story is compelling; but if you are one, then the pleasure of this book is definitely multi-layered.

Read More