The Association of Planters of Kerala (APK) has sought the intervention of the Centre as well as the Tea Board to amicably settle issues at the Kochi Tea auction centre to avoid a total shutdown of the tea industry in the State.

According to APK, the tea buyers’ boycott of the Kochi auctions has resulted in the piling up of huge quantities of unsold tea. This has created a serious cash crunch situation for growers, who are already reeling under heavy losses due to the high cost of production and low prices.

The cash realised through the auction was acting as a lifeline for meeting the operational expenses of the tea estates. This balance has been upset due to hindrance in the auction process for the last three weeks and resulted in piling up of nearly 20 lakh kg of tea at the auction Centre, the planters’ body said. “It may not be a surprise if some of the growers default in statutory payments,” said C Vinayaraghavan, Chairman, APK.

“APK strongly supports the Pan India Tea Auction introduced by the Tea Board. We believe that this change in rules of auction will help in realising the right price for the product as any registered buyer across India can bid for the tea produced in Kerala. This will also help in increasing the competition among the buyers. The new rules will definitely bring in much-needed transparency in the auctioning system,” he said.

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