GUWAHATI: In a development that predicts a bleak future for the tea industry, experts have warned that many tea-growing areas in Assam will become unsuitable for tea by 2050 due to climate change and global warming.
According to experts associated with the Indian Tea Association (ITA), many areas in the State will not remain suitable for tea by 2050, if adaptation measures are not taken seriously. Quoting a study on the impact of future climate on tea growing regions of Assam conducted by the Tea Research Association (TRA), experts have warned that if something urgent is not done immediately to do away with the adverse impact of climate change and global warming, the State tea industry will be heading towards bleak future.
The study project had mapped the predicted impact of climate change in four tea production regions of Assam – Upper Assam, south bank, north bank, and Cachar – to create possible scenarios of future suitability for tea growth in the four regions by the year 2050.
The current suitability of tea has shown that the south bank region which covers parts of Upper Assam and Cachar are suitable regions (very good and excellent suitability) whereas the north bank region is comparatively less suitable.
“The predicted probability distribution of tea in the future shows that 35 years from now, the suitability of these regions would reduce drastically across all the tea-growing regions and shifting of tea would be observed in comparatively higher altitude areas of Karbi Anglong, Dima Hasao and Tinsukia districts,” the study observed.
According to the study the drastic change in suitability is due to change in the seasonality of rainfall, which has maximum influence on future suitability.
“Both minimum and maximum temperatures were found to increase across all the major tea-growing regions of Assam, which will have impact on the suitability of tea in a particular region. Rainfall is likely to reduce in the first quarter of the year and the amount of precipitation is likely to increase during monsoon in the four major tea-growing regions of Assam. Seasonality of precipitation was found to have the biggest influence the suitability of tea growth in a particular region,” the study says.
“The study has clearly indicated a bleak future of the tea industry. It is high time for the tea industry along with the governments to join hands to do some mitigation measures. The ITA, an apex body of tea planters in the country in collaboration with other stake holders of tea must find out ways to change the scenario,” a small tea planter said.
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