Tea in trouble

THE Darjeeling tea industry is battling for survival after witnessing record low harvest in 1997. According to the Darjeeling Planters' Association (DPA), the apex body of tea growers, due to continues cloud cover and incessant rainfall, the production of tea during July and August has fallen by 40 per cent compared to the corresponding months of the previous year, which too was a bad one for the industry. If the production level is pitted against a normal year's production, then the crop loss is over 50 per cent, say DPA officials.

The fall in production is bound to escalate the cost of production which is around Rs 125-130 per kilogram.

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