Factors Affecting Tea Production in India
India has been identified with tea for many years. However, there are many factors affecting tea production in India over the recent years. Tea was found growing as an indigenous crop in 1815 in Assam by a traveler. Since then, the crop has been grown in India with the tea production industry expanding over the years. Annually, India produces tea amounting to over 850 million kilograms.
Tea production industry is also among the oldest and organized industries comprising of a network of producers, distributors, retailers, auctioneers, packers and exporters. Thousands of people work in the tea industry in India. Nevertheless, the Indian tea industry has been facing several challenges that affect tea production and sales in this country.
Competition from other world producers of tea such as Kenya, Vietnam and Sri-Lanka is one of the major factors that affect tea production in India. Currently, India accounts for about 27.16 percent of the tea produced worldwide. It also accounts for 13.09 percent of the tea sold in the global trade. Stiff competition in production affects the price of tea from India and in turn tea producers.
Due to stiff competition in the market, production of tea in India declined between 2004 and 2005 by approximately 29 million kilograms. This is a significant decline considering the fact that in the previous years, tea production was increasing with about 9.79 million kilograms.
The fact that in nations where tea is consumed different types of tea are bought affects tea production in India. Even some people in India import tea from other countries which poses competition in the domestic market. This further affects the price of Indian tea.
There are also constraints that face the tea industry in India and these have direct impact on quality and production. These include the existence of old tea bushes that occupy over 30 percent of tea area in India. Slow re-plantation pace in India affects the productivity and quality of tea from India.
Although the Indian tea board has come up with several initiatives such as technical and financial assistance to tea producers, these are not enough to boost tea production effectively. Some countries boost their tea export potentials by use of appropriate non-tariff and tariff measures. This has boosted export of tea by these countries which affects the competitiveness of the Indian tea industry negatively.
Climate change is also affecting tea production in India. Experts note that ideal climate for tea production in Assam State which is one of the largest regions where tea is produced in India is changing due to climate change. The tea industry that was once flourishing in the region is being chocked by the fickle rain and soaring temperatures.
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