Agri Business

Hit by Covid and floods, Kochi tea trade seeks financial support

Our Bureau Kochi | Updated on September 30, 2020 Published on September 30, 2020

Seeks mock sessions ahead of rollout of new auction model

The Tea Trade Association of Cochin (TTAC) has appealed to the Union Ministries of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, and the Tea Board, to look into the damages and losses incurred by the industry due to the natural calamities and pandemic, and extend financial support to recover the lost grounds.

Also read: Kerala planters body for re-look at farm trade pacts

Addressing the 28th AGM, outgoing TTAC Chairman Cherian M George said crop volumes were adversely affected by the very high rainfall in July and August, and other natural calamities. Nine lives were lost in the Sentinel Rock Estate of Harrisons Malayalam Ltd, Wynad. Many tea growing areas went under landslide and there was colossal loss to the infrastructure of the estates and plantations, he added.

The sector is passing through a very difficult phase for the past six months due to the pandemic outbreak. However, the Association has taken many steps to ensure smooth conduct of auctions and to reduce the impact of Covid on the trade and its stakeholders. The conduct of auctions has helped sellers, buyers and traders, and many depend on the tea trade to keep their operations afloat during these trying times, he said.

New auction system

The Tea Board has adopted a Japanese auction model based on the recommendation of B Mahadevan, an IIM-Bangalore professor. George requested the Tea Board to conduct mock sessions prior to its implementation.

Also read: Tea prices in Kochi hit on improved arrivals in North Indian auctions

According to him, the tea trade centre in Kochi has crossed the historic landmark average price of ₹193 in sale 38. He complimented the buyers for lifting the prices which were stagnant for over five years. He also noted that the drop in volumes in the Kochi centre is due to the shift in the preference of leaf grades to dust.

A tea park in Kochi is a long-held dream of TTAC members for many years, said George. However, the initiative could not be taken forward due to the Covid situation, despite a meeting with the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) and the Tea Board. “I hope the next committee will take this forward at an appropriate time,” he said.

Also read: Why growers of plantation crops need weather-based insurance

Immediately after the AGM, Appu Kurian of PK Varughese and Company was elected as the Chairman of TTAC for 2020-21. Thomas Jacob of Poabs Enterprises Ltd was elected as the Vice-Chairman.

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Published on September 30, 2020
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