The unit price of Indian tea has increased despite a global glut situation

The Indian Tea Association (ITA) has proposed to hold a convention of small growers to strategise a holistic approach for their development while bringing their produce into the mainstream.

Outgoing Tea Board Chairman M. G. V. K. Bhanu backed this suggestion, and urged his successor and senior Tea Board officials to extend the regulator’s support to the event, which is being planned early next year.

Recognising the role played by this emerging sector, ITA Chairman A. N. Singh said: “It is to the credit of the small growers that Indian tea production has hit a record high. This segment is now contributing almost 32 per cent of the total production.”

He was speaking at the association’s annual general meeting. He said the convention could be held under the aegis of the CCPA, the umbrella body for plantation-based industries.

Mr. Singh, however, cautioned the sector from over-producing, saying that if tea supply were to outstrip demand, then there could be a repeat of the recessionary spell, which the industry had passed through between 2000 and 2007.

He said exports were on course, and should end higher this year against that of 2012.

“Clearly, Iran with its preference for orthodox teas presents a great opportunity for increasing export volumes and earnings,” he said. The Tea Board Chairman announced his departure on Saturday, saying that he had accomplished his assignment here.

“The unit price of Indian tea has increased despite a global glut situation... this has happened due to improved qualities,” he said.

He, however, asked the industry not to look perpetually to the regulator for subsidies, saying that with a subsidy budget of only Rs.250 crore annually, less than Rs.2 would be available as subsidies for every kg of tea produced.

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