Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)- Bangladesh’s tea production has dropped this year primarily due to unfavourable weather conditions and fertilizer crisis during April-May period, planters said.

A total of 47.258 million kilograms were produced in the country’s 163 tea gardens until October this year against 47.305 million kilograms over the same period in 2007, they confirmed.

August-September period is considered to be the peak season although the regular season starts from March and continues until December.

Vice chairman of Bangladesh Tea Association Safwan Ahmed told the Financial Express, the country’s lone financial daily, that less rain and late application of fertilizer were the main reason behind the production shortfall.

Production in leading tea gardens including National Tea Company, Finlay Tea remained below target while some large gardens including Duncan had achieved their target, Mr. Ahmed added.

The shortfall in the production will not affect the domestic tea market as Bangladesh’s export to Pakistan fell sharply over the past few months.

Many tea importers of Pakistan deferred their orders following ‘poor economic situation’ in Pakistan, the newspaper reported quoting tea traders.

Bangladesh exports around 10 million kilograms a year to Pakistan under duty free access and it is the largest export destination for Bangladesh.

Bangladesh had a bumper crop in 2005 crossing all previous record at 60 million kilograms. Bangladesh’s domestic demand for the tea is around 48 million kilograms.

BBN/SI/SS/AD-28November08-3:48 PM (BST)