The Darjeeling tea industry is in "bad shape" as the production has been severely hit due to phases of lockdown and excessive rain in the hills, an official of the planters' association said on Thursday.
The garden owners are anticipating losses this year as the output will be lower than the annual production of about seven million kg, Darjeeling Indian Tea Association secretary Mohan Chhetri said.
"The industry is in bad shape. Phases of lockdown and excessive rain have taken a toll on the crop," he said.
Earlier, production of Darjeeling orthodox variety was around nine million kg annually.
"This had gone down to seven million kg. This year, it will be even less than that. The industry is not bullish on the recovery of production. The output loss can be ascertained only after October," he said.
Chhetri said the temperature in Darjeeling usually starts going down this time of the year, which is not suitable for production.
"The ideal temperature is between 20-25 degree celsius. Now it is less than that," he said.
As per the Indian Tea Association (ITA) estimates, production in north India, comprising Assam and north Bengal, was down by 40 per cent during January-June period this year as compared to the corresponding months of 2019.
Calcutta Tea Traders Association chairman Vijay Jagannath had said that the Indian tea industry is staring at a crop loss of around 200 million kg during the year.