Climate change is threatening to impact the bottomline of the organised tea industry in India, with unprecedented high temperatures in Assam and excessive rainfall in Darjeeling impacting the prized crop.

Addressing the media here on Monday, A N Singh, Chairman of the Indian Tea Association, said that due to erratic weather conditions in Assam, there would be lesser availability of quality teas. Certain tea-growing regions in Assam, which produces 50 per cent of the Indian tea crop, had seen temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius. Although crop was on track till April, in May, crop loss of 21 per cent was reported from certain regions. “There is complete cessation of growth,” he said.

In Darjeeling, quality concerns have emerged amid reports of excessive rains in early June and lack of adequate sunshine.

The May – June period is crucial for tea production.

While consumers may face a price pressure while buying quality teas (auction prices have already begun moving north), tea companies fear that the benefits of higher prices will not get reflected on the bottomline of their company’s balance sheets as it would get cancelled out by lesser volumes. The organised industry’s fears over lesser earnings come amidst the incidence of increased costs. “Costs have increased by seven per cent this year,” Mr Singh said.

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