- Of late, the tea gardens of Bengal were experiencing a dry spell
- Heavy showers last week has altered the scene, tea planters hope for bumper crop
- 2021 could be the fourt consecutive year for the tea belt of Bengal to have a high yield
TAD NewsDesk, Siliguri: Post a dry spell that lasted months, the first heavy rain of winters have brought hope back for Bengal tea planters. Pleased with the unexpected heavy showers, the golden beverage arena looking forward to 2021 as the fourth consecutive year to produce a bumper crop. Earlier, Bengal tea plantations have seen a favourable first flush yield in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
“Wintertime dry spell dries up the soil. At this time, rain is a blessing for tea. Good winter shower can give us a favourable first flush yield,” said P K Bhattacharjee, the Secretary-General of Tea Association of India. “After the big jolt of lockdown, now the industry is in serious need of high volume and a higher level of market realization for survival. Good first flush output can facilitate that,” said many planters.
“The rain has drastically reduced our usual wintertime dependency on artificial irrigation which is a major relief. Irrigation alone eats up over 20% of our entire production cost,” said veteran planter Sujit Seal.
According to meteorological department record, between 1-20th January, the tea gardens of Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri witnessed a 36% and 21% lower than normal rainfall, respectively. However, the last week was blessed with over 1200% higher than normal showers which has lifted the spirits of tea planters.
“Beside immediate gain of the heavy first flush crop, wintertime rainfall rejuvenates health of moisture-loving tea bushes and ensures heavy long term benefit,” said eminent tea scientist Dr S. E. Kabir.
‘First flush’ crop refers to the fresh batch of tea leaves that come after the maintenance phase tea bushes are made to go through during deep winter in the months of December-January. The new leaves starts coming from mid-February and continue till the end of March. The first flush is considered significant as it contributess 20% to India’s national yield. Meanwhile, its value contribution is more than 30%, that explains the deep attention it gets.
Source – The Business News