Owing to rainfall, tea production in Assam has declined and thus leads to rise in prices.
Tea production in Assam, which accounts for over 50 per cent of the annual production in the country, fell by 27 per cent to 81.75 million kg (mkg) in September because of unseasonal torrential rain. The production in West Bengal’s Doers region dipped by 19 per cent to 43 mkg in the same month.
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Exports and Imports saw increases in 2017 (up to August) with exports improving by 13.1% (7.6% in USD terms) while imports increased by 15.15% (9.6% in USD terms). This however, resulted in the balance of trade being impacted by Rs. 141 billion to show an increased deficit of Rs. 939 billion as at the end of August 2017. Tea, rubber and mineral exports saw increases which contributed well to the economy while fuel and wheat were the main increases on the import side. The balance of payments account ended with a significant increase in the deficit to show a deficit of $ 1.4 billion for the 1st half of 2017. This compares unfavourably against a deficit of only $ 643 m by the 1st half 2016.
Arun Thekedath, chairman of Assam tea Planters’ Association, said good quality teas would see a 10 per cent surge in their prices, though the price increase for average grades could not be predicted. “But I think prices will be on the higher side as demand for teas is increasing while there is a production shortfall,” he said.
The tea industry’s performance on the export front was commendable as the quantity of tea exports increased by 28.94 million kgs (12.71%) during 2017-18 as compared to the corresponding period last year, while the revenue earned from exports saw a rise of US$ 95.19 million (13.78%). In rupee terms, the total value of the exports was pegged at Rs. 5064.88 crores during 2017-18. The value realisation increased by Rs. 432.38 crores (9.33%). The growth in exports was majorly driven by the following countries: Egypt (increased by 7.49 million kgs), Iran (increased by 6.95 million kgs), Pakistan (increased by 4.96 million kgs), China (increased by 2.91 million kgs) and Russia (increased by 2.89 million kgs). The earlier record for the highest quantity of tea exports was during the financial year 1976- 77 when the total quantity exported was 242.42 million kgs. Given below is an overview of the tea exports during FY2017-18: Quantity (Million Kgs) Value (Rs. Crores) Value (Million US$) 2017- 18 2016- 17 2017- 18 2016- 17 2017- 18 2016- 17 Total Exports 256.57 227.63 5064.88 4632.50 785.92 690.73 Increase 28.94 432.38 95.19 Increase in percentage 12.71 9.33 13.78 The following countries have shown significant increase in quantity of exports during annually consumes around 1,000 mkg of tea, growing at a less than 10 percent.