Key Facts about Tea Production in India

Botanical name of Tea is Camellia sinensis. After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world. Tea is an evergreen plant that mainly grows in tropical and subtropical climates. It is thought to have originated in East Asia somewhere between China and Burma. Commercial cultivation of tea started in India from British era when one Robert Bruce in 1823 discovered tea plants growing wild in Upper Brahmaputra valley. In May 1838 the first Indian tea from Assam was sent to England for public sale.

About the crop

  • Tea grows in a moderately hot and humid climate, which is preferred for better yield, crop distribution and quality. An ambient temperature within 13°C and 28-32°C is conducive for growth of tea. Temperature above 32°C is unfavourable for optimum photosynthesis. It is synergically disastrous for the crop if it is accompanied by low humidity.
  • In India, the temperature in winters is around or below 12°C and there is hardly any growth during this period. This is called Winter Dormancy. Flushing in the tea plants starts from March with the rise in temperature.
  • The Acidic Soil with around 4.5-5.5 pH is most suitable for Tea. Well-drained fertile acid soil on high lands with moderate to high rainfall.

Production Figures

India is world’s second largest tea producer after China. In 2013, India’s estimated tea production was 900 million kilograms, which counts for around 23-24% of global tea production. The top five producer countries of tea are China, India, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Turkey.

In 2007, in India, there was an area of 579353 hectares under tea cultivation.  Out of these 459613 hectares was in North India and 119740 hectares in South India. Around 4.16 Lakh hectares was under big growers and around 1.62 Lakh hectares was under small growers.

Important Tea Producing Areas of India

India is the largest producer and consumer of black tea in the world. Tea is grown in 16 states in India. Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala account for about 95 per cent of total tea production.

India’s major Tea Producing Districts/ Areas are as follows:

  • Assam: Darrang, Goalpara, Kamrup, Lakhimpur , Dibrugarh, Nowgong, Sibsagar, Cachar , Karbi Anlong , North Cachar
  • West Bengal : Darjeeling, Terai (west Dinajpur), Doors (Cooch Bihar) .
  • Tamil Nadu: Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli, Madurai, Coimbatore , Nilgiris
  • Kerala: Cannanore, Palghat, Kozhikode, Malapuram, Trichur, Trivandrum, Quilon, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Idukki, Wynaad
  • Karnataka: Chikmagalur, Coorg, Hassan

The Largest state with area under Tea Plantations in India is Assam.

Data on Tea Production

The following table shows the states in India with Tea Plantations. Area under Tea Production in India is shown in below: