Tea Board sets up a committee to investigate deteriorating quality of green tea leaves

At the time he was an Indian tea industryparticularly small tea growers (STG), were grappling with the issue of rising costs outweighing price perception, the Indian Tea Board set up a committee to examine the reasons behind the declining quality of green tea leaves.

STG accounts for approximately 52 percent of the country’s annual tea production which is estimated at more than 1,300 million kg.

The Tea Board said in a recent bulletin that the committee, which will be made up of representatives from purchased leaf mills, estate mills and STGs, will study the issues of all tea-growing regions in the country and “come to a just and equitable solution”. .

“This refers to the deliberations that took place at the 248th meeting of the Board of Directors regarding the formation of a committee… to carry out a thorough examination of the reasons behind the deterioration of green tea leaf quality day by day, and thus suggest the necessary measures to be taken in order to improve the quality of the green leaf.”

The committee will be required to investigate the matter and submit its report including observations, suggestions or recommendations to the Tea Board within three months.

Unsustainable prices

STG sells green tea leaves at prices below their cost of production which makes them unviable for operations. Despite the drop in production, industry insiders worry that prices could drop further if production picks up during the monsoon.

“STG is fetching an average price of around ₹14-18/kg for tea leaves this year as opposed to ₹33-35/kg during a normal year. The average production cost is close to ₹20/kg. We are afraid that if this is the situation in crops with The second flow, then what will happen in the rain flow when the production increases,” Bijoygopal Chakraborty, President of the Federation of Young Indian Tea Growers, said. business line.

weather conditions

Unfavorable weather conditions in several tea-growing enclaves in Dooars and Darjeeling have adversely affected the new tea season 2023 in West Bengal.

The region has been going through a period of severe financial crisis over the past few years with tea prices unable to keep up with the rising cost of production.

Although official Tea Board data for March is awaiting, according to available ITA membership yield data, Darjeeling’s yield is estimated to have fallen by 39 percent in March. Crop declines have also been reported in several pockets in the Dooars area.

Reports of widespread hail damage to second-flow crops have been received across many gardens in North Bengal. The second crop is estimated to flow 30-35 per cent lower in West Bengal this year. Bad weather conditions also made farms more vulnerable to pest attacks which further increased farming costs.

West Bengal tea prices have grown since 2014 at a compound annual growth rate of only about 4 per cent while costs of vital inputs like coal, gas, MOP, sulfur etc. have grown at a compound annual growth rate of 9-12 per cent over the same period, which is a recent rate . A report from the Indian Tea Association said.

A senior industry official said that the tea industry is also largely dominated by two large buyers and their aggressive marketing and pricing strategy influences sentiment and prices.

Chakraborty said that, therefore, there is an urgent need to introduce a minimum price for green leaf (paid to STG) and tea making (paid to tea producers) linked to the cost of production to overcome the crisis.