Lochan Tea is experiencing the pandemic as a tea grower, processor, and exporter. Contacted via email, Rajiv Lochan kindly agreed to share the impacts over the past nine months, as well as his prediction for 2021. What follows is a transcript of our correspondence on 18 October 2020.
“The pandemic looked terrifying in the beginning, when it disrupted plucking in both the Darjeeling and Terai areas. We had to throw away the March/April crop. Later, when plucking was allowed during the Corona lockdowns, prices shot up to almost double, which has really helped CTC prices to double their normal standard. This allowed many struggling units to settle their old debts.
“At Lochan Tea, we have had a flurry of orders – both domestic and exports – all with full payments, which was very rare in the past. We pray for logistics and port congestions to clear away for faster deliveries. So far, we have been very quick with supplies, but not all have had this experience in 2020.
“Seasonal lower temperature, rain, and clear skies helped produce good teas at reduced production. High prices mitigated the low production numbers, and 2021 looks very promising.”
Images provided by Rajiv Lochan and used with permission