News / Asia

Climate Change Impacts India's Tea-Growing Region

An Indian tea worker plucks tea leaves at the Amchong estate in Digaru district of India's northeastern Assam state (file photo – 27 May 2010)
An Indian tea worker plucks tea leaves at the Amchong estate in Digaru district of India's northeastern Assam state (file photo – 27 May 2010)

Multimedia

Audio
Anjana Pasricha

In India's main tea-growing region, scientists say tea production is being impacted by climate change. India produces nearly one third of the world's tea.

The rolling Himalayan hills in India's northeastern state, Assam, are carpeted with lush tea bushes whose leaves produce some of the world's finest teas.

But there are concerns that rising temperatures may be affecting the tea plantations, resulting in declining productivity of the brew to which millions of people across the world wake up.

The director of the Tea Research Association in Assam, Mridul Hazrika, is studying the impact of climate change on tea production.

"We have observed that minimum temperature has rise[n] by two degrees centigrade and there is a reduction in the rainfall in the last 90 years by around 200 millimeters. And this is very important, very significant from the point of tea as a plantation crop," Hazrika said.

Scientists say rising temperatures can affect the ability of the tea bush to grow. Tea production in the Assam region has declined in recent years, although the area under cultivation has risen.

Erratic rainfall patterns are of particular concern to planters because the tea plant is largely dependent on the weather. They point out that last year there were fewer days with sunshine, resulting in humid conditions which are unfavorable for the growth of the tea plant.

Planters are optimistic that the sturdy tea bush will adapt, but they are looking at ways to combat the impact of climate change.

Arijit Raha is an official with the Indian Tea Association, based in Kolkata.  

"The industry has been looking at irrigation as an option, but tea plantations are huge, irrigating 100 percent is a very expensive proposition," Raha said. "One is also looking at other options, drought-resistant plants but those are things which will come in the future."

There have been some reports that the flavor of the Assam tea, known to produce a strong cup of tea, has also been impacted.

But the chairman of the Indian Tea Association, C.S. Bedi, dismisses any link between quality of the tea and climate change. He says other reasons may be responsible for this.  

"I belong to a generation which in many ways has systematically gone in for very high fertilization," Bedi said. "That has affected quality I am certain. It's gone in for very high pesticide application, for very high herbicidal application. When you look back in hindsight, these were not really the best environmental friendly operations…Today we are looking at correcting things. We are looking for more organic products, we are looking at organic teas." 

Assam produces more than half of India's tea. India accounts for nearly one-third of the world's tea production.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid