New York, NY (BBN)- Tea prices reached a record high in this year, but should ease next year as weather improves in the tea-producing regions in Asia and Africa, the United Nations food agency reported on Tuesday.

The world’s indicator for the price of black tea, reached a high of $3.18 per kilogram in September as India, Sri Lanka and Kenya experienced droughts while demand surged, compared to an average price of $2.38 a kilogram in 2008, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said.

The FAO also said that there are concerns that producers could plant more crops to take advantage of the current high prices, flooding the market with tea.

“Higher prices have not impacted consumers in developed countries due to intense competition in the beverages market,” the FAO said, adding that some of the price increases this year were reflected in rises in prices for consumers, with retail prices climbing 5 percent in supermarkets across Europe.

However, the rise in prices will likely be transferred to those in developing nations because tea procurement costs account for a major share of the final retail price.

In India, average retail tea prices were some 15 percent higher in September 2009 than in the same month the previous year, according to the FAO.

BBN/SS/SI/AD-23December09-12:05 pm (BST)