Special Correspondent

KOLKATA: The world may be heading towards a global shortage of tea, with a 68.7 million kg shortfall being reported in almost all the major black tea-producing countries till between January and July this year.

Official statistics show that led by Sri Lanka, which suffered a shortfall of 42.6 million kg (21.3 per cent), two other major black tea producers — Kenya and India — too have suffered shortfall on account of drought conditions. While Kenya has lost 20.8 million kg (a 11.5 per cent drop), India’s loss has been pegged at 15.8 million kg which translates into a 3.3 per cent shortfall.

Prices have obviously been impacted and are now moving around Rs. 100 a kg in India, Kenya and Sri Lanka, where the upward spiral has been the steepest registering a rise of Rs. 32 a kg. In India, the price rise has been the sharpest in the South where it has increased by Rs. 25.70 a kg between January and June.

Tea estates in India produced 460.8 million kg of tea till July this year which is 3.3 per cent lower than the previous year (same period).Tea exports during the period under review were lower by 15.3 million kg but earnings were higher at Rs. 1,258.10 crore against a unit price of Rs. 133.8 a kg which was Rs. 27.50 a kg higher than in the same period in the previous year.