Drought + epidemic India’s tea leaves keep rising

In the dry weather and the new crown pneumonia (Chinese Communist virus) epidemic, India’s important tea-producing areas of the harvest season, is facing a decline in production and tea harvesting operations stalled the dual threat, may lead to a wave of tea prices have risen continue to rise.

The Financial Times (FT) reported that as the Indian government tries to prevent the spread of the epidemic to 800 tea-producing areas across the country, the Indian Tea Association said that at least 90 tea gardens in the important tea-producing region of Assam have reported confirmed cases, and there are many declared lockdown areas.

About 500 confirmed cases have been confirmed in Indian tea gardens, but tea farmers say more testing is needed to know the true scale of the outbreak.

Tea farmers warned that if the outbreak is not contained, it could impact the tea harvest season and push up prices. India is the world’s second largest tea producer, after mainland China.

Assam and West Bengal is an important Darjeeling black tea production area, both reported a surge in the number of new crown cases, experts said the two regions recently held local elections, fueling the spread of the epidemic. Labor groups blamed the sharp increase in the number of confirmed cases on the cramped working conditions in the tea plantations.

India’s tea industry is suffering from multiple negative blows, from climate change-induced erratic weather patterns, to last year’s blockade measures led to the suspension of tea harvesting for several weeks.

The decline in production caused Indian tea prices to rise to a record high last year, resulting in Kenya and Sri Lanka to gain a competitive advantage in the tea export market. Commodity data company Mintec analyst Idoni Boyer said that the recent impact of India’s tea-producing regions, will allow tea-producing countries such as Sri Lanka to take advantage of the opportunity to sell more tea to large tea-consuming countries such as Russia.

Severe drought is threatening the growth of tea in Assam and northeast India, the epidemic envelope to make the situation even worse. Tea trader Reece said North India’s tea production in March was 47 million kilograms, higher than last year, but still lower than the last “normal year” in March 2019 harvest of 60 million kilograms. According to Mintec, India’s Kolkata April tea auction price of 287.5 rupees per kilogram, a jump of more than 40% from a month ago.