Agri Business

Centre holds talks with stakeholders in tea sector

Our Bureau Kolkata | Updated on August 14, 2019 Published on August 14, 2019

The Centre held a consultative meeting with tea industry stakeholders in New Delhi on Wednesday. Representatives of planters’ associations and major tea houses, exporters, brokers, and small tea growers attended the meeting, chaired by the Joint Secretary, Plantations.

The tea industry is grappling with higher costs and lower price realisation.

Recommendations

Implementation of auction reforms; allowing higher use of tea area for cultivation of other crops, tourism and other activities; allowing export of tea waste, and focusing on domestic promotion of tea with funding from government and industry were among the suggestions made at the meeting to give a boost to the Indian tea industry.

Tea Board of India in consultation with various stakeholders will come up with a suitable proposal and an action plan on the ten areas which have been identified at the meeting.

The report will be submitted to the Ministry of Commerce within a month, Prabhat K Bezboruah, Chairman, Tea Board of India, told BusinessLine. Allowing MGNREGA for temporary workers in tea estates; exploring the possibility of rupee-rouble mechanism to increase exports to Russia; increasing the incentive for orthodox from the existing ₹3 a kg; assessing feasibility of having a minimum benchmark for Green Leaf price in accordance with minimum quality standards were some of the other suggestions made at the meeting, sources said.

According to Vivek Goenka, Chairman of Indian Tea Association, the meeting not only discussed the problem areas but also suggested the need for coming up with a time-bound approach by setting short-term goals and targets.

ITA will work with the State government to come up with a proposal of using 20 per cent of tea area (as opposed 5 per cent earlier) to be allowed for cultivation of other crops, tourism and allied activities as long as permanent employment is not reduced. Auction reforms will be based on suggestions following a study carried out by IIM-Bangalore. The study pointed to the need for revamping the e-auction system for bulk tea on the lines of the Japanese auction format for better price discovery.

Published on August 14, 2019
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