Tea output has declined by about 20 million kg between January and May this year, according to industry estimates.

The drop is evident more sharply in north India which accounts for 75 per cent of the Indian tea production. Gardens in the south suffered crop losses as well.

The 8 million kg drop in the first quarter of 2012 in north India seemed to have worsened in April when a crop loss of 3 million kg was estimated. Till May, a loss varying between 19 million kg and 90 million kg is being feared, although official figures are yet to be released by the Tea Board of India. “Reports received for June uptil now have not been encouraging,” sources said.

Erratic weather, uneven rainfall and excess warmth have played havoc with the output, a source at the Indian Tea Association (ITA), the apex body of North Indian producers, said.

The scene is no better in the Darjeeling slopes.

The first flush crop, the premier of teas, has already seen a drop.

Plantation managers are facing difficulty in commencing production of second flush crop due to adverse weather conditions.

Production trend in India was in line with that of most black tea producers across the world, sources said.

Keywords: tea production