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First International Tea Day special auction fetches record prices in Assam

Tea garden workers pluck tea leaves inside a tea estate in Jorhat, Assam. File photo   | Photo Credit: Reuters

The first International Tea Day special auction conducted on a digital platform in eastern Assam’s Jorhat, considered the tea capital of the region, fetched record prices.

More than 93% of the total tea on offers from at least a dozen niche tea gardens in eastern Assam were sold to buyers from Assam, Delhi Gujarat, Rajasthan and West Bengal, the auctioneers said.

The auction at the Jorhat tea e-marketplace was conducted on June 21 — exactly a month after the best leaves were plucked to mark International Tea Day on May 21 — by mjunction services limited, India’s largest business-to-business e-commerce firm.

Orthodox tea from Pabhojan Tea Estate was sold at ₹4,000 per kg while speciality green tea from Diroibam Tea Estate and CTC (crush, tear and curl) tea from Hookhmol Tea Estate fetched ₹1,000 per kg and ₹510 per kg — record prices in their respective categories.

The other tea gardens that participated included Lankashi, Aideobari Premium, Muktabari, Rungliting Tea Estate, Narayanpur Panbarry, Durgapur, Tirual, Arin, Kathonibari and Friends Tea.

“With shorter cycle time, teas sold on the mjunction platform are the freshest. We are pleased to have bagged Hookhmol,” said Kamal Sharma, one of the directors of Tea World that purchased the CTC tea at the record price.

“Tea estate companies are the only private sector enterprises that has survived in Assam for two centuries despite all hostilities. Assam tea estates have survived the nationalisation bid, extreme regulation, Land Ceiling Act and agitations of all kinds since 1947, but right now we are facing unprecedented challenges,” Bhaskar Hazarika, the director of Real Assam Tea Industries that supplied the Hookhmol CTC said.

“The average price of tea in the primary market (auctions) has not increased from 2012 to 2019. Tea prices remain very low for the most part because all kinds of teas are blended and sold as cheap commodity in the secondary (retail) market,” he said, adding that the digital platform has enabled small retailers sell best quality Assam tea in its true form and not as a cheap blend.

Nazrana Ahmed of Diroibam Tea Estate said: “The special auction was of special significance to us, as we have received the highest bid for our speciality green teas.”

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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 3:33:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/first-international-tea-day-special-auction-fetches-record-prices-in-assam/article34899280.ece

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