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Bangladesh's tea industry in deep crisis due to prolonged drought
[April 11, 2006]

Bangladesh's tea industry in deep crisis due to prolonged drought

(Comtex Environment Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)DHAKA, Apr 11, 2006 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- A prolonged drought in Bangladesh
for the last five months has thrown the tea industry into a deep
crisis during the current season, local daily The Independent
reported Tuesday.

Tea experts said Bangladeshi tea industry had never witnessed
such an unprecedented drought in the last seven years. As a result, tea production might fall by 25 percent.

Scientists in the Bangladesh Tea Research Institute said for
normal production of tea, about 200 mm rainfall was recorded in
November and December and 400 mm rainfall from January to March.
There was no rainfall in five tea valleys of the country.

The scientists also said due to prolonged drought, the capacity
of the tea plants to store water had come down to the wilting
point and the absence of shady trees was destroying the young
leaves of the plants and, in some cases, killing the tea plants.

Tea planters said they generally produced 10 percent of the
total yearly production within the month of April. But due to lack
of rainfall, they have not yet been able to pick tealeaves.

In the 1960s and 1970s and towards the end of 1990s, the
country's tea industry experienced such a situation due to the
prolonged drought.

But last year, due to favorable weather and proper rainfall, a
record 60 million kg of tea was produced in Bangladesh.

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