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Assam: Tea Production in November 2023 Down by 5% Compared to 2022

In November 2023, Assam produced around 63 million kg of tea. The figure in November 2022 was around 67 million kg of tea.
Tea Garden Workers

As per official figures of the Tea Board of India, tea production in Assam has fallen by 5.62% in November 2023 compared to November 2022. The board has cited erratic climatic conditions as one of the reasons for the decrease in tea production. 

In November 2023, Assam produced around 63 million kg of tea. The figure in November 2022 was around 67 million kg of tea. Even the 11-month tea production in 2022 was more than what was produced in 2023. In 2023, Assam produced 654.63 million kilogram, whereas, in 2022, the tea production was 668 million kilogram. 

Moreover, the figures further note the shortfall in tea production in both the Brahmaputra and Barak valleys. The Brahmaputra Valley saw a decrease of around 4.98%, whereas the Barak Valley saw a decrease of around 14% compared to November 2022. 

The Tea Board of India also gave out All India figures for tea production in the country. In November 2022, India produced around 135 million kilogram of tea; the figure for November 2023 is at 127 million kilogram. 

As per an official of the Tea Association of India (TAI), "Tea plantations are highly dependent on climate, and hence, climate change has been adversely affecting tea production for the past few years." 

"From 1990 to 2019, the average maximum temperature in the state increases by 0.049 degrees Celsius annually. During this period, the state observed an average decline of 10.77 million in rainfall, leading to a rise in temperature that adversely affected tea production," the official further said

The fall in tea production in Assam has happened at a time when workers' wages have been stagnant for a period of time.  

As per official figures, Assam produces half of India's total tea. The tea industry employs around eight lakh workers in Assam. In recent years, the price of Assam has shown an upward trend. Even area under and tea production have increased in the last two decades. However, as of 2021, when political parties made different promises to tea workers to get their votes, the wages of tea workers in the state were abysmal compared to tea workers in states like Kerala and Tamil Nadu. 

For instance, the minimum wage of tea workers in Assam was Rs 167. The minimum wages in Tamil Nadu and Kerala were Rs 314 and Rs 380, respectively. 

In 2023, the state government hiked the minimum wages of workers to Rs 228 in the Barak Valley. Earlier, in 2022, the wages of workers were hiked by Rs 27 by the state government. 

However, despite these hikes, the tea workers in the state continue to receive relatively lesser wages compared to tea workers in other states. 

In 2021, the Assam Tea Tribe Students' Association demanded a minimum wage of Rs 351 for tea workers. 

With the hikes, the workers in the Brahmaputra valley will receive Rs 251, while workers in the Barak valley will receive Rs 228. These wages fall short of the demands made by the workers. 

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