Assam and Darjeeling tea growers experienced a difficult start to the year. Assam’s first flush quantities were down due to too much rain and a drop in temperature in past weeks that has caused worries for producers about second flush teas. Too much rain in too short a period is bad for the crop and also means that land becomes waterlogged, which can be disastrous for the plants.
Estimates predict that Assam’s first flush will be down from 44 million kg last year to 34 million kg this year. Meanwhile, too little rain in Darjeeling has caused a drop in production of 40%. President of the Darjeeling Tea Association S. S. Bagaria said that in the early weeks of the season, “A drought-like situation was going on.
With a rainfall scarcity in February, the first flush has already been affected while concerns have risen for the second flush.” These early teas fetch the highest revenue of the year. Growers estimated March and April production to be below one million kilos compared to 1.5 million kg in 2015. Producers are hopeful that they will be able to make up the shortfall later in the year.