Cumulative sales exceeded one billion kg on December 22
Cumulative sale of tea-across the six e-auction centres exceeded one billion kg (100 crore kg) on December 22, marking a milestone in the journey of Indian tea auctions for over 150 years.
e-auctions in the present form were introduced by the Tea Board of India in April 2009 with Coonoor auction centre, according to a Tea Board release.
The Board plans to roll out e-auctions for tea waste, bulk tea and packaged tea in the near future.
At present, around 50 per cent of the around 950 million kg produced is sold through auction with the rest being sold through private sales.
After extensive discussions with the stakeholders of the tea industry, e-auction application was rolled out in December 2008.
A series of mock e-auctions and trainings were conducted and a mammoth change in management process was initiated to convince the stakeholders who were used to manual auctions for over 150 years. NSE-IT played a major role in ushering in this change.
The Tea Board moved with caution as the earlier attempts to introduce e-auctions in 2002 had failed.
With the stakeholders by and large embracing the e-auction system, a series of new and innovative features were introduced and within a short time, in November 2009, over 100 million kg of tea was sold.
It may be mentioned that the government had not imposed any regulatory measures on the industry to sell teas through the e-auctions saying that better price discovery would be the incentive for making a switch. Now, 100 per cent of all CTC teas sold in the six auction centres were through e-auctions and today only Darjeeling teas go through the manual auction route in Kolkata.
However, the system is not without some glitches as present sellers of highly-valued orthodox teas have found that their realisation were at below par levels. A committee has been set up to study the issue, industry sources said.