Despite Kenya continuing to post increase in its output of black tea, the overall global production till October this year , the period for which official data is available, is trailing behind last year essentially because of a sharp fall in India’s production. “According to our compilation of the official data received from various countries, the global black tea production in the first ten months has fallen to 1,831.10 million kg (mkg) from 1,920.60 mkg in Jan-Oct 2019,” Rajesh Gupta, compiler of annual Global Tea Digest, told BusinessLine. This fall of 89.50 mkg marked a loss of 4.66 per cent. Lockdown due to the world’s fight against Covid-19 and adverse weather in many countries pulled down the output. The bulk of the fall has happened in India, where due to prolonged lockdown and adverse weather, the country’s output till October had crashed to 1,032.68 mkg from 1,184.28 mkg in Jan-Oct 2019. “India has lost as much as 151.60 mkg (12.80 per cent) with the entire loss happening in North India even as South India has posted a marginal increase,” Gupta said. “Sri Lanka’s output declined to 222.72 mkg from 251.78 in Jan-Oct 2019, marking a fall of 29.06 mkg or 11.54 per cent,” he said. Bangladesh’s production dropped to 68.94 mkg from 79.35 mkg in Jan-Oct 2019, marking a loss of 10.41 mkg or 13.12 per cent. Malawi’s output fell to 38.40 mkg from 42.09 mkg in Jan-Oct 2019 – a loss of 3.69 mkg or 8.77 per cent. The only country which posted an impressive gain was Kenya. “Kenya’s production has increased to 468.36 mkg from 363.10 – a gain of 105.26 mkg or 29 per cent,” Gupta said. However, this increase was inadequate to offset the massive loss in India and other countries put together. In November and December, tea production in North Indian plantations has come down due to winter restrictions and volumes from there are unlikely to hit the market before April 2021. Consequently, the chances of making over the loss in global production in the winter months are remote.