The Tea Board of India on Sunday said the total tea production in the country is estimated to be 190 million kilogram (mkg) during September, as against 163 mkg in the year-ago month, which is a surge of 16.5 per cent. The production of tea leaves by the largest producer among states, Assam, is estimated at 109 mkg in the reviewed month as against 92 mkg in the corresponding the previous year whereas West Bengal's production is pegged at 52.94 mkg in September, against 46.32 mkg in the year-ago period.
North India's production of tea is estimated at 166.75 mkg, against 142.56 in September the previous year. The production of tea leaves in the South is estimated to be 23.28 mkg, against 20.61 mkg in September the previous month. Meanwhile, Bharatiya Cha Parishad (BCP) Chairman Nalin Khemani last week said that Assam tea industry faces the biggest challenge of stagnation in prices, coupled with high cost in production and low productivity. Khemani was speaking on the lines of competitiveness between states at the annual general meeting of the BCP. The chairman also said the cost of labour per hectare in running a tea garden in Assam is Rs 787.5 as against Rs 341.8 in the southern state.
During these four months, he said, "Industry faces a huge worker shortage resulting in poor quality of the harvest. The time has come we should implement mechanized harvesting to improve the productivity of the Assam Tea Industry." The chairman also mentioned that Assam produces 60 per cent of its yearly production in four months from July to September.