Tea Trade Association of Cochin has urged Upasi to extend support to small traders whose role in price discovery is indispensable.

Almost 80 per cent of the buyers are from the small or medium segment and they take delivery within a week of the sale. It must be recognised that these buyers are the ones who toiled to establish some of the ‘popular gardens’ as household names in the remotest areas, said KM Salim, the outgoing chairman of the association.

Addressing the 31 annual general meeting, he said the cash and carry system of the association will improve the cash flow with the introduction of split payment facility.

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Working together is the only pathway to not only regain old glory, but to attract more people to the tea business. He said the centre is able to ensure high prices even in times of declining production.

The volume of South Indian teas came down by 3.87 million kg to 231.83 million kg in 2022, while production in Kerala touched 67.77 million kg in 2022, an increase of 5.15 million kg over the previous year.

It is a matter of grave concern that the Tea Board has discontinued its Kochi office which could be relied upon to sort out the issues faced by association. The withdrawal of the technical personnel by the NSEIT has affected the handling of technical issues locally and has caused immense difficulties to the members, it said.

The AGM also elected Anil Mathew of Neelimalai Agro Industries (AVT) as chairman and Appu Kurian of PK Varughese & Co as vice chairman of the Association for 2023-24.