Even as some tea traders and packeteers have sought duty-free import to tame the rise in price of Indian teas, the latest production data coming from different countries show a shortage of nearly 75 million kg (mkg) in the global production of black tea due to lower output in almost all the countries except Kenya.
Adverse weather, country-wide lockdown and closure of factories in the global fight against Covid-19 in many countries led to a lower production.
“Our compilation of the official production data received from various countries shows that in the first half of current calendar, the global black tea output has fallen to 831.49 mkg from 906.10 in Jan-June 2019,” Rajesh Gupta, compiler of annual ‘Global Tea Digest’ told BusinessLine.
This fall of 74.61 mkg marked a decline of 8.23 per cent.
The maximum loss has happened in India where the H1 (first half) output has fallen to 348.26 mkg from 472.96 mkg, marking a shortfall of a whopping 124.70 mkg or 26.37 per cent.
“Here again, North India accounted as much as 122.65 mkg or 32.93 per cent loss with production dipping to 249.83 mkg from 372.48 mkg in January-June 2019,”Gupta said.
“South India, on the contrary managed to produce 2.05 mkg or 2.04 per cent more to reach 98.43 mkg from 100.48 mkg in January-June 2019,” he said.
Sri Lanka lost 29.24 mkg or 18.52 per cent when its production dipped to 128.64 mkg from 157.88 mkg. Bangladesh’s output fell to 21.81 mkg from 27.95 mkg making a loss of 6.14 mkg or 21.97 per cent.
Malawi’s production dropped to 31.17 mkg from 34.70 mkg — a loss of 3.53 mkg or 10.17 per cent.
“On the other hand, Kenya’s production rose to 301.61 mkg from 212.61 mkg in Jan-June 2019 – a gain of 89 mkg or 41.86 per cent,” Gupta added.
However, this gain is inadequate to offset the loss in output in other countries resulting in an overall shortage in the global production of black tea.