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Monday, Dec 13, 2004

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Tea dealers ask growers to maintain quality

Our Bureau

Kolkata , Dec. 12

THE Western India Tea Dealers Association (WITDA) has urged tea producers to maintain a specific quality of tea and for that they are willing to pay an extra premium.

According to Mr Piyush Desai, President, WITDA, the buyers may agree to pay three to five per cent extra on every kg of tea bought in the auction provided the producer conforms to some standard with a logo mark.

"The buyers must be ensured quality as well as the activities and processes involved in the factories. The buyers may prefer to pay a premium for goods which are accepted and recognised as being of the best quality," Mr Desai told Business Line.

In this context, he referred to quality standards such as the ISO or ISI or HACCP. Mr Desai felt that good producers should come forward and accept this proposal.

"This mechanism can be discussed by the Indian Tea Association and the acceptable means of certification should be devised and followed. This would give producers a stamp of assured quality and monetary compensation for adhering to strict quality norms," he said.

The WITDA also suggested that the five per cent "penalty" on division lots at the auction houses under the Tea Marketing Control Order (TMCO) must abolished as early as possible.

Currently, buyers are required to a pay a five a per cent premium for every kilogram of which is being shared by more than one buyer in the auction houses. The producers earn this five per cent premium.

As a result, the buyers are already deducting five per cent from its "can pay" price and, thereafter, placing its bids. The WITDA feels it is an "irritating practice" and has lead to "tremendous discontentment" among the buyers.

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