* Guwahati Tea Auction Centre allows green tea auction, to promote growers
* Demand for green tea booming in domestic & intertiol markets
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, June 12: In a historic decision, the Guwahati Tea Auction Centre has decided to allow sale of green tea through its auction platform.
This decision has been taken with a view to provide the green tea manufacturers of Northeastern states a fair market, which will allow them to fetch competitive prices for these high value teas.
Looking at the high value of these teas and also their limited production, the committee members of the auction centre decided to allow these teas to be sold in the main catalogue with a minimum lot size of 5 packages and a minimum weight of 10 kgs per package.
As a further incentive, the committee also decided to allow registration of green tea manufactures at the GTAC for a token amount of Rs 1,000 only to encourage them to come to the auction platform.
“We intend to make the Guwahati Tea Auction centre a hub of green tea. There is a lot of prospect in green tea. We have come across growers in Assam, Meghalaya, galand and Aruchal producing quality green tea. But we need to provide them a proper market to sell their products,” said Dipanjol Deka, a member of the auction centre’s executive committee.
The strategy is two-pronged. “Normally buyers who are looking for fancy teas, purchase green tea and other fancy teas like orthodox together. If anyone comes to buy the green tea, we are sure he will also purchase other varieties like orthodox,” Deka explained.
On June 9, organic green tea produced at Deha Tea Esate in Jorhat district fetched Rs 2,501 a kg. This is the best ever price fetched in the history of GTAC, which is known for CTC tea primarily, and industry observers say this will certainly give a big boost to the auction centre.
Tea growers in India’s largest tea producing state Assam, which is a bastion of crush-tear-curl (CTC) teas, are gradually taking to the production of organic green tea following strong domestic demand.
In India, demand for green tea is rapidly increasing. The country produced around 1,200 million kgs of tea in 2013 out of which Assam produced about 618 million kgs. The estimated production of green tea in India in the year 2013 was 11 million kgs only - West Bengal contributed 8 million kgs, Assam 2 million kgs while the remaining 1 million was contributed by South India.
However, Tea Board’s D Kakoty said the production of green tea in Assam last year jumped to 10 million kgs. “We plan to double it in the next five years,” he said.
An exhibition of green tea was organized at the Tea Auction Centre today by the Tea Board where buyers were amazed at the quality of tea produced by small tea growers indigenously.
“There are around six big tea growers of green tea and over 150 small growers. Next, we are planning to take some of them to the meeting of the Indian Hoteliers Association scheduled to be held at Kolkata in September,” Kakoty said, adding that small tea growers have already started exporting their products to foreign shores like Cada, US and Germany.
The demand for green tea in the domestic market is growing at 17 per cent per annum as against only 3 per cent for black tea.
Small growers in Assam and other Northeastern states have started making organic hand-made green tea.
“There is a growing craze for green tea among the growers. Growers in Sivasagar, Jorhat, Tinsukia and Dibrugarh are taking to green tea as there is good demand for this variety in the market,” said an industry source.