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Friday, 8 November, 2002, 12:24 GMT
Bad weather hits Bangladesh tea
Tea garden in Bangladesh
High rainfall has damaged tea plants
Bangladesh tea growers fear that production could slump by about 10% this year due to bad weather.

"Tea requires sufficient sunlight for proper growth and leaf production, but this year there was not enough sunlight during the tea growing season," Ali Ahmed of Fulbari Tea Estate told AFP newswire.

Excess and untimely rain also washed away fertiliser in some areas, he explained.

Bangladesh's tea exports earned the impoverished country $22m last year.

But exports were down more than a quarter compared to the previous year as the Bangladeshi crop lost out to tea from Africa and other South Asian nations.

Better bushes

Meanwhile, neighbouring India is increasing its tea production efforts in order to be able to compete better in the international marketplace.

Growers in the Assam state are replacing 50-year old plants with a new generation of tea bushes to improve the crop's quality and yield.

Replantation has been previously impossible due to the separatist rebellions in the north-eastern state.

Industry analysts say Assam's tea output could increase by at least 30% over the next three years as a result of the new bushes.

See also:

03 Jul 02 | South Asia
06 May 02 | Business
29 Jan 02 | Business
15 Jan 02 | Business
16 Jan 02 | South Asia
04 Jan 02 | Business
09 Oct 02 | Business
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