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01 Mar 2024, Edition - 3153, Friday

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Spurt in tea harvest in Nilgiris; but workforce in short supply

Ooty Anish


In the wake of bountiful rains in Nilgiris district the past two months, there has been an increase in arrival of consignments of green tea leaves at Kundah Co-operative Factory. A dearth of factory workers at this time could affect production.

Green tea leaf consignment arrivals have increased at the Kundah Cooperative Factory in Manjur. However, shortage of factory workers could affect tea production.

Green tea leaves are a major industry in Nilgiris district and about 65,000 farmers and factory workers are involved in this business. However tea production towards the end of 2018 was affected due to poor rains from north-east monsoon. This led to a drop in tea prices which affected tea farmers.

This year, heavy rains of the last two months have revived the tea estates and rejuvenated greenery. Tea harvests have also increased in these estates. Earlier 10,000 kilos of green tea leaves were brought every day to the Kundah Tea Cooperative Factory near Edakadu in Manjur.

Now after the rains, the same green tea leaf consignments have increased to 30-35,000 kilos per day. These leaves are found piled in mountainous heaps in the cooperative factory. However production has slowed, since there are not enough workers for sorting, roasting, crushing, curling and packing the tea leaves for marketing.

Also wood and fuel shortages have affected tea production, particularly when tea leaf harvests are expected to increase in the coming days. The Cooperative has requested factory owners to recruit more labourers and stock up on wood and fuel to meet the production demand.

The head of the factory owners’ association D Sivaraman said, “Heavy rains have increased harvests such that we are getting around 30- 35,000 kilos of tea leaves per day. The shortage of labourers is affecting production even as there are indications that harvest will increase in the coming months. Therefore labourers have to be recruited on a war footing. Also efforts will be taken to stock up on fuel and wood to keep the production running.”

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