Tea Buyers Association of Cochin has described as “alarming” the decline in quantity offered in auctions here and called upon members to try to revive Kochi’s position as the leading auction centre in the South.

Kochi, where the traders offer high prices for good quality teas, must re-establish itself and the sellers must play their role in a cash and carry system like buyers by providing a split payment facility, said Anil Kumar N Prabhu, president of the association, in the 49th annual general meeting.

The quantity offered through Kochi Cochin sale was 51,808 tonnes as against 73,786 tonnes in Coonoor and 17,433 tonnes in Coimbatore. The average price realized from Cochin Auction Centre was ₹ 141.35 against ₹ 95.86 for Coonoor and ₹ 107.05 for Coimbatore, he said.

“It has been our endeavor to increase our membership and we urge all buyer members of Tea Trade Association of Cochin to join Tea Buyers Association as it is imperative that our voice is also heard by the authorities,” he said.

Tea Board, he said, has neglected to bring about changes in Bharath Auctions introduced almost two years ago despite constant reminders and representations for effecting changes that are more appropriate to the conditions prevailing at the South Indian tea auctions, especially Kerala. “It is no less a matter of grave concern that the Tea Board has disbanded their Kochi office and withdrew the NSEiT support staff, both of which have caused immense difficulties for our members. One saving grace, however, are the initiatives of the Tea Board to monitor the quality of teas offered through the auctions”, he said.

Production up

Referring to tea production, he said Kerala produced 67.77 million kg in 2022 against 62.62 million kg in 2021, showing an increase of 5.15 million kg. The South Indian tea production for 2022 was 231.83 million kg as against 235.7 million kg in 2021; a decrease of 3.87 million kg.

The total exports from South India was 83.78 million kg in 2022 as against 82.6 million kg in 2021 with an increase of 1.28 million kg.