Darjeeling production shrank to 6.19 mio. kg in 2021
One of the world's most famous teas becomes rarer and rarer. According to the Tea Board of India the production of 2021 has shrunk to 6.19 million kilograms of tea, that is almost half of what the average production capability used to be in 2009. However, the decline of quantities has been a continuous one since many years and there are a couple of reasons behind this development:
- Unfavourful weather conditions due to climate change. The dry spells have become longer and excessive rainfalls as well, both affecting growth and plucking cycles.
- The strike of 104 days in 2017 severly affected the bushes maintenance cycle and the effects are still felt. Foreign importers of Darjeeling tea switched to substitutes from other tea growing areas.
- The rate of absenteeism among tea workers is high and can reach up to 50 percent. During the strike many were looking for other job opportunities and young and well-educated people usually don't see their future in agriculture.
- The steep terrain doesn't allow mechanical plucking to a large extend and thus can't replace hand plucking.
- Even though tea bushes can live beyond 150 years, the older tea bushes hold less yield and need to be uprooted and replanted. It takes up to five years before the leaves of these new bushes can be harvested.
- Some tea gardens have been closed down, reducing the quantity further.