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Coronavirus crisis: Assam tea industry estimates 80 million kg loss

Coronavirus crisis: Assam tea industry estimates 80 million kg loss

The consumption of the beverage is unlikely to be affected in future, and there is "a possibility of increasing exports to China"

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The Assam tea industry has estimated a production loss of 80 million kg due to the lockdown and conducted an analysis to determine its strength and future opportunities to overcome the coronavirus crisis, an industry body said on Friday.

The North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) has done the analysis to identify its weaknesses and threats to act efficiently in the crisis period, an official said.

"The SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis was done so as to examine both positive and negative aspects of the impact on the Assam tea industry," NETA Adviser Bidyananda Barkakoty said.

Tea production is seasonal, and about 60 per cent of the crop in Assam is harvested in July, August, September and October, he said, adding that this is "strength of the industry" as the production is expected to continue in the peak seasons.

He, however, said the Assam industry has estimated "80 million kg production and around Rs 1,200 crore revenue loss due to the lockdown".

"These are our weaknesses. The production in March and this month was hit, even though the operations at gardens with 50 per cent workforce resumed from April 15. Planers need to do skiffing of overgrown leaves and the production in May will be impacted to some extent," Barkakoty said.

He said it will take some more time for the supply chain to stabilise.

Describing tea as "an immunity booster", he said the consumption of the beverage is unlikely to be affected in future, and there is "a possibility of increasing exports to China".

"It is time to explore new markets for exporting tea as the product has multiple health benefits. There is an opportunity for tea producers to sell tea directly through online platforms," he said.

Exports to traditional markets may get affected due to the coronavirus pandemic, he added.

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