Drought Boils Bitter Cup of Tea for India

assamteaplantation
As the first quarter of the year winds down, India is drawing up its tea yields balance-sheet. A drought in the country’s primary tea growing region has significantly reduced tea production in the first three months of 2009 in comparison with the same period last year, the Associated Press reported.

The northeastern state of Assam –- which together with neighboring states grows more than 70 percent of India’s tea –- has produced 12,000-15,000 tons less in January-March, according to the Assam Branch Indian Tea Association. India, one of the world’s largest suppliers of tea, generates more than 1 million tons of tea crops per year.

The dry spell has also affected other major tea growing countries, thus causing tea prices to firm up in the global markets, Indiatimes reports. Sri Lanka’s plantations, for example, have yielded 20,000 tons less so far this quarter than in the first quarter of 2008.

The Water Footprint Network estimates that on average one cup of tea takes 35 liters to produce. The “water footprint” concept reflects the total volume of freshwater used to produce goods and services.

Read more here, here and here.

Sources: Indiatimes, Gulf News

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, a Bulgaria native, is a Chicago-based reporter for Circle of Blue. She co-writes The Stream, a daily digest of international water news trends. Interests: Europe, China, Environmental Policy, International Security.
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