Assam tea growers hope there won’t be more rains

Guwahati, April 29 (IANS) After pre-monsoon rains hit output in Assam, tea growers are looking up to the weather god ahead of the premium second flush of tea which is due in May-June.

Although the growers have received a good crop in March, yet production dipped in April due to several factors including incessant rains and hailstorm.

“The production suffered due to rains in April but we still expect a good premium second flush crop. This will start in the first week of May. The weather is improving. I think the second flush will not be affected,” Bidyananda Barkakoty, adviser of the North Eastern Tea Association (NETA), told IANS.

The second flush of Assam tea is considered to be the region’s most distinctive tea.

It is known for its rich taste and bright liquors. According to industry experts, the demands for the second flush of Assam tea has been growing globally.

The tea bushes produce the finest quality of leaves and buds rich in natural chemicals that result in strong cups and the rich aroma for which Assam tea is famous.

“The production in March was good in Assam. However, the tea growing districts of Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sivsagar, Charaideo and part of Jorhat received pre-monsoon rains which affected the production in April,” Barkakoty said.

He said that besides rainfall and hailstorm, floods due to water logging in most gardens also hit tea production.

Karuna Mahanta, vice president of the All Assam Small Tea Growers’ Association (AASTGA), echoed similar sentiments and said that the output of green leaf had been low in most gardens due to rains.

“It is difficult to make a general statement about the overall production due to erratic climate patterns these days. The rainfall has also become too localized. Sometime there is rainfall in one tea estate while other estates in the same district don’t get rains,” said another expert.

Assam is one of the prominent tea growing areas in the world.

While India produces about 1,200 million kg of tea every year, Assam’s contribution from Assam is about 625 million kg. Assam’s tea output forms 17 per cent of the world’s tea production.

–IANS

ah/mr

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