Bengal, Assam Tea Production Slashed By Worst Drought in 15 Years

Partha Sarathi Sahana/CC BY 2.0

Another effect of weather weirding: Higher tea prices coming?

DNA India reports that the Indian Tea Association is warning of the effects of what they've called "the worst-ever drought in the past 15 years" in the northeastern part of the nation.

The ITA said:

Tea production in Assam and West Bengal for 2012 is set to register a sharp drop due to a prolonged dry spell and rising temperatures. ... Crop is estimated to drop by around 60% up to March compared with 2011. In Assam and West Bengal, it can therefore at best touch 20 million kg as against 46 million kg record for the corresponding period for 2011.

This comes at the same time where abnormal weather conditions have reduced tea production in Kenya as well, though not to the same degree as in northeast India.s

Though the future effects of climate change and warming temperatures on tea production are hard to predict for sure, a reports continue to show that climate change is likely to play havoc with the South Asian monsoon, with some scenarios showing it could drag precipitation out over the ocean, or increase the intensity and frequency of downpours, thereby increasing flooding risk.

Already regional warming and declines in rainfall in northeast India may be causing changes in the taste of Assam tea. The Guardian quoted one tea grower:

The creamy and strong flavor is no more. There is a huge demand for Assam tea abroad, and this is due to its strong, bright flavor. The changes will sharply hamper the demand for this variety of tea abroad.

Tags: Global Climate Change | Global Warming Effects | India | Tea