After being stable for around five years, the prices of CTC tea variants are again on the rise- both in the wholesale as well as the retail markets.
The Wholesale price index (WPI) for tea grew at an all-time high of 79 per cent in August.
The WPI figure for May was 1.8 per cent, for June it was 8.9 per cent and for July the figure was 45.8 per cent.
The main reason for the hike in tea prices this year has been attributed to the sudden drop in production for almost a month due to the COVID-19-induced 68-day nation-wide lockdown.
It may be mentioned here that due to the COVID-19 lockdown, for the first time in history, plucking of tea leaves was stopped completely at nearly 800 tea gardens and thousands of small tea growers across Assam.
The COVID-19 lockdown impacted the first flush in the tea gardens.
It may be mentioned here that the first flush, which occurs between March and April, accounts for the best quality of tea leaves for the rest of the year.
Due to the lockdown, the overgrown leaves could not be plucked and extended monsoon rainfall also contributed to low production.
There has been a decrease in production up to 50 per cent in most of the tea gardens of the state.