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Tea industry looking up

By Our Staff Reporter

COIMBATORE, MAY 31. The tea industry has started looking up with a jump at prices in the last few auctions ended May 15, N.K. Das, chairman, Tea Board of India, said on Saturday.

Talking to mediapersons after the inauguration of an electronic tea auction here, he said North Indian teas fared better than South Indian teas.

In Kolkata auctions, prices moved up to Rs.80 a kg, up from Rs.61 in the same period last year. The auction prices in Guwahati, Siliguri and Kochi were also positive.

Compared to last May, the average price increased from Rs. 54.72 to Rs. 64.48 a kg. Adverse drought conditions brought down tea production by 6.56 million kg as on March 2004.

``Exports during the first quarter of this year touched 37 per cent, up from 29 per cent,'' Mr. Das said.

The chairman pointed out that there was a better understanding of stock position, quality of teas and supply-demand equations in the industry. ``South Indian tea factories have also adopted the `quality' route.''

Pointing out that there was good scope for value-added teas in the Far-East, he said regular delegation visits and buyer-seller meets were arranged. ``A private delegation from Iraq visited India recently and a joint venture has been formed to facilitate packaging and purchase of Indian teas.'' Bilateral talks with Iran and Egypt were also fruitful.

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