Kenyan drought forces up tea prices
TEA auction prices could remain high until the middle of next year, Indian tea experts have warned. Prices have risen by 20% overall since the start of the year and it is expected they will continue to increase for the rest of 1997.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation said the smaller crop which has arisen from severe drought in Kenya followed by heavy rain, was not expected to be offset by increased output in other countries.
Indias tea output is estimated at 373m kg (822m 1b) in the first seven months of the year, up from 358m kg (789m 1b) compared with the same period in 1996, according to the United Planters Association of Southern India.
India is to test-market a cheaper blend of tea mixed with chicory and tapioca on the rural market.