Un­rest Turns Dar­jeel­ing Tea Bit­ter

The Economic Times - - Finance & Commodities - @times­group.com kg kg kg kg kg

Su­tanuka.Ghosal Kolkata: Dar­jeel­ing tea prices have shot up 50-100% this month due to a 45-day-long ag­i­ta­tion in t h e h i l l s by t h e Go rk h a Jan­mukti Mor­cha (GJM) which has halted pro­duc­tion of tea in the re­gion. This pre­mium qual­ity tea, which is mostly ex­ported to world mar­kets, has disappeared from the auc­tions as well.

Re­tail­ers of Dar­jeel­ing tea are fast run­ning out of stock even though con­sumers are ready to pay a pre­mium for their favourite tea.

“The whole leaf Dar­jeel­ing teas which were ear­lier fetch­ing ₹ 500 per kg are now be­ing sold for ₹ 1,000 a kg. Sim­i­larly, bet­ter qual­ity whole leaf Dar­jeel­ing teas which were be­ing sold at ₹ 1,000 per kg last year are now com­mand­ing a price of ₹ 2,000 per kg. Even the av­er­age price of bro­ken va­ri­ety has ap­pre­ci­ated to ₹ 800 per kg from ₹ 500 per kg,” An­shu­man WHOLE LEAF DAR­JEEL­ING TEAS PRICE EAR­LIER PRO­DUC­TION OF DAR­JEEL­ING TEA LAST YEAR RISE IN PRICES OF DAR­JEEL­ING TEA THIS MONTH

Kano­ria, chair­man, Cal­cutta Te a T r a d e r s As s o c i a t i o n (CTTA), told ET. Over­seas buy­ers as well as do­mes­tic packet t e a manuf a c t u r e r s are ready to pay the ex­tra buck so that they do not lose mar­ket for this pre­mium va­ri­ety tea. “The sec­ond flush teas have been com­pletely de­stroyed be­cause of the ag­i­ta­tion in the WHOLE LEAF DAR­JEEL­ING TEAS PRICE NOW OVER­ALL TEA OUT­PUT IN FIRST SIX MONTHS OF 2017 IN­DIA’S EX­PORTS OF TEA IN FIRST FIVE MONTHS OF 2017

hills. The Dar­jeel­ing tea in­dus­try is star­ing at a loss of more than ₹ 250 crore,” Kano­ria said. The pro­duc­tion of Dar­jeel­ing tea has plunged 90% in June, com­pared with the same month last year be­cause of the Gorkha­land ag­i­ta­tion. All the 87 tea gardens that pro­duce Dar­jeel­ing tea have been shut since June 15, the day the Mor­cha an­nounced its in­def­i­nite ag­i­ta­tion. Last year, 8.13 mil­lion kg of Dar­jeel­ing tea were pro­duced. How­ever, the over­all pro­duc­tion of tea in the first six months of 2017 is higher by 4.5% at 443.15 mil­lion kg. Prices of As­sam and Dooars teas, on the other hand, have ap­pre­ci­ated by 3% dur­ing the goods & ser­vices tax (GST) regime. A se­nior As­sam tea in­dus­try ex­ec­u­tive said that what has brought re­lief is that the qual­ity teas are fetch­ing bet­ter prices this year. “Last year, lower qual­ity teas were mov­ing faster and were fetch­ing bet­ter prices. But the trend has re­versed this year,” he said.

In­ci­den­tally, In­dian ortho­dox teas are fetch­ing good prices in Iran as they have been able to com­pete with Sri Lankan ortho­dox teas which are much ex­pen­sive. Ortho­dox teas re­fer to loose leaf tea pro­duced us­ing tra­di­tional (ortho­dox) meth­ods, which in­volves pluck­ing, with­er­ing, rolling, ox­i­da­tion and dry­ing.

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