Low grown teas saw a dip in production from 17.4 million kg in 2011, down to 16 million kg this year. Tea from high grown elevations accounted for 5.1 million kg during the month, up from 4.6 million kg in the previous year, whilst medium grown tea accounted for 4.2 million kg, as compared with 3.4 million kg produced in the previous year.
The impact of adverse weather conditions on tea production was most clearly displayed in cumulative production figures for January to August, with total production dropping to 214.4 million kg, down from 221.2 million kg last year.
Production of high grown tea over the year stood at 48.4 million kg, down from 54.8 million kg, whilst medium grown tea dropped slightly from 35.5 million kg in 2011 to 35.3 million kg this year. Meanwhile, low grown tea accounted for 130.8 million kg of production, as compared with 130.9 million kg in the previous year.
Between drastic shifts in weather patterns and an urgent need for the implementation of a longdelayed replanting programme, industry experts have warned that production levels are likely to see further volatility going forward.
Whilst the need for a replanting programme currently looms large over the industry, climate change is forecasted to have serious impacts on patterns of tea production across the country, according to a study carried out by the Tea Research Institute.
Ambient temperatures tend to affect crop growth, with tea being particularly vulnerable to temperature increases due to its optimum temperature of 18-25 degree Celsius.
Consequently, as temperatures rise, tea production in low grown areas in particular is expected to decrease. However, initial increases in temperature and carbon dioxide concentrations in medium to high grown areas may cause production to increase, according to the institute’s forecast.