MUMBAI (Reuters) - India’s April tea output fell 54% from a year earlier to 39.02 million kilograms (kg) as restrictions to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus reduced plucking in the top producing north-eastern state of Assam, the state-run Tea Board said on Monday.
For Assam alone, output in April plunged 76% from a year ago to 10.99 million kg, the board said.
In the first four months of 2020, India produced 113.36 million kg of tea, down 40% from a year ago because of lower production in March and April, the board said in a statement.
India, the world’s second-biggest tea producer, exports CTC (crush-tear-curl) grade mainly to Egypt, Pakistan and the United Kingdom, with the orthodox variety shipped to Iraq, Iran and Russia.
India’s tea output is likely to drop by 120 million kgs or 9% in 2020 as lockdown measures initially forced plantations to suspend plucking during the opening harvest - the prized first flush - and then operate with about half the workforce.
Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; editing by Barbara Lewis