Darjeeling tea production stood at 6.6 million kg (mkg) in 2022, a two-decade low barring 2017 when the gardens had to shut down for 104 days due to the Gorkhaland agitation.
According to data available on the Indian Tea Association (ITA) and Tea Board websites, the production figure is marginally lower than even 2020 output, when a nationwide lockdown was imposed to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in crop loss. And yet, the drop in production was hardly unexpected – Darjeeling’s cup of woes has been brimming for a while now with production and demand on a downward spiral.
Data shows that Darjeeling tea production has been consistently below the 10-mkg mark since 2009, which used to be 10-12 mkg and even higher in the earlier years. Climate change adversities, labour absenteeism, low productivity and financial stress are the primary factors dragging down production.
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