Tea growers in Assam are losing the 'First Flush' production as rainfall in winter months is decreasing and becoming almost nil over the years, said a senior official of Tocklai Tea Research Institute in Assam.
First Flush is the first plucking of a tea plant's harvest season with tender and young leaves, which yield the purest cup of tea that the plant is capable of producing. Rainfall pattern in the past decade showed that due to erratic rainfall pattern, the tea production process was hit resulting in a major loss of First Flush production.
Due to erratic rainfall there is also difficulty in applying fertilisers and pesticides, thereby affecting the process for production of First Flush. The average annual rainfall have decreased by more than 250 mm in the past 98 years and the temperatures have increased by 1.5 degree Celsius in the same period, said the official.
All the tea growing belts in Assam and Darjeeling are suffering from the same problem due to extreme climatic conditions observed in the past one and a half decades, when there is either too much or too little rainfall.
"We are in the process of finding ways to tackle the erratic weather pattern and rainfall for tea bushes if some methods could be developed to do so", said Tocklai Director N Muralidharan.