In the first quarter (Q1) of current calendar, the world black tea production increased by 9.83 per cent over the same months of 2020, thanks to higher output in all countries though not in Kenya.
“Our compilation of official data received from various countries shows that world black tea production in Q1 rose to 338.84 million kg (mkg) from 308.51 mkg in January-March 2020”, Rajesh Gupta, Compiler of Global Tea Digest told BusinessLine.
This increase of 30.33 mkg marked a growth of 9.83 per cent.
“India’s production rose to 99.84 mkg from 74.34 mkg in January-March 2020 — a growth of 25.50 mkg or 34.30 per cent”, Gupta said.
Sri Lanka posted an increase of 20.67 mkg or 38.88 per cent when its output rose to 73.84 mkg from 53.17 mkg, he noted.
Malawi’s output increased to 22.20 mkg from 20.60 mkg, marking a gain of 1.60 mkg or 7.77 per cent.
Bangladesh posted an increase of 0.16 mkg or 8.74 per cent with its production rising to 1.99 mkg from 1.83 mkg.
“Kenya was the only country where production has fallen. Kenya’s output dropped to 140.97 mkg from 158.57 in January-March 2020 — a loss of 17.60 mkg or 11.10 per cent”, Gupta disclosed.
However, Kenya’s loss did not offset the gain in other countries.
Producers predict that if this trend continues, the overall world production this calendar would be some 40 per cent more than 2020.
Nevertheless, the lockdown in many countries in the world’s fight against the second wave of Covid-19, including in the tea-producing States of India, has thrown up new challenges towards reaching this prediction.
The weather was generally favourable during Q1 for the tea fields to harvest a good crop in most countries. Favourable weather prevailed in some areas even in April and May.
“The unseasonal rains in South India, especially The Nilgiris, in April and May are helping a faster and healthier growth in tea bushes. Also, the rains have reduced the adversity caused by red spider mites in tea fields. These factors may help production to rise at least moderately in coming weeks”, Ramesh Chander, President, The Nilgiris Small Tea Growers’ Association, said.