India is heading for one of its highest increases in its tea crop, aided mainly by favourable weather conditions and uniform rains in Assam, the country’s largest tea-growing state, which contributes half the crop. South Indian tea estates too contributed to this scenario, overcoming its earlier setbacks.

Industry sources said that the crop had increased by 53.6 million kg between January and September 2013. “We are expecting reports of further gains in October since the weather conditions were just right,” a senior official at the apex industry body, the Indian Tea Association, said.

All India production stood at 861.6 million kg between January and September of which Assam produced 447.1 million kg followed by West Bengal’s 226.2 million kg. South India, which lost eight million kg earlier this year, made good its loss and reported a production of 170.7 million kg.

Bumper crop in Kenya

However, Kenya, India’s closest rival in the international market, reported a bumper crop of 310 million kg till September which was 25 per cent higher than a year ago. Although this spelt trouble for India in some of its export markets like Pakistan and the U.K., where it is set for some erosion, it has made gains in other high-value markets like Iran, it was learnt. However, the industry regulator, the Tea Board of India, has not released any official export data after March 2013.

Industry sources said that domestic buying had kept prices on an even keel and prices were buoyed by high demand, prices were 5 per cent higher despite increased supplies. Auction prices were Rs.129.9 a kg. Around 60 per cent of the total tea is sold through the auction centres at Kolkata, Siliguri, Jalpaiguri and Amritsar in North India and through Kochi, Conoor and Coimbatore in South India.

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