Agri Business

Nilgiri planters to boost speciality tea output

Vishwanath Kulkarni New Delhi | Updated on November 17, 2017 Published on April 11, 2012

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Planters in Nilgiri Hills are planning to step up the production of the speciality teas, buoyed by the response at the recent auction.

Orthodox varieties were in good demand at the Nilgiris Winter Speciality Tea Auctions, organised by the Nilgiris Planters Association in Coonoor early last month. The speciality teas produced in the region include the high value black tea, certified organic tea, golden tips, silver tips, white teas, green teas, Oolongs and winter teas.

“About 1,500 kg of speciality teas were sold in the March auctions,” said Mr Suresh Jacob, Chairman of the Nilgiris Planters Association (NPA).

The maximum price fetched was Rs 9,000 a kg, while the minimum was Rs 450 a kg, he said. The average price for the normal orthodox teas is about Rs 100 a kg.

“Speciality teas produced during winter through special plucking and manufacturing process has inherent quality characteristics, which have not been tapped. There is a big potential. We have made a start and expect to increase the production in the years to come,” Mr Jacob said.

Planters also plan to start production of the speciality teas in the dry period during monsoon, said Mr Jacob. The organised tea sector in Nilgiris consists of about 35 companies that produce some 3 million kg of orthodox teas during the winter season.

“We want the speciality teas to be around 10 per cent of the winter tea output, depending on the demand,” Mr Jacob said.

Most of the demand comes from the US and Europe. Of the annual tea output of 100 million kg in the Nilgiris region, about 20 million kg is orthodox variety and the rest is CTC.

The NPA also proposes to conduct special auctions during September this year. “We plan to hold the auctions twice a year in March and September,” Mr Jacob said.

Further, the NPA plans to leverage the Geographical Indication (GI) status granted to the Nilgiris tea and brand them accordingly in the overseas market. The Tea Board of India has got the GI tag registered for the Nilgiris teas about a year ago. “We have made an application to the Tea Board to allow us to use the GI logo on our products,” Mr Jacob said.

> vishwa@thehindu.co.in

Published on April 11, 2012
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