Unrest Turns Darjeeling Tea Bitter
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.