Orthodox tea instead of CTC

Planters are keen on producing orthodox tea even in the plains, but feel that the government support is just not enough.

“While there is a huge demand (domestic and global) for orthodox tea, there is a glut in the market for CTC tea which the gardens in the plains mostly grow,” said S.K. Saria, the chairman of Siliguri Tea Auction Committee and a planter himself. Saria said this at a news meet called to announce that the 30th annual general meeting (AGM) of the tea auction centre here will be held on March 7 and 8.

Asked about the subsidy announced by the government, a few years ago, to encourage growers to produce orthodox tea, Saria said the government help is not enough.

“The gardens in the Dooars phased out orthodox tea to grow the CTC variety in the 70s,” Saria said. “Now they are all completely into CTC with all their equipment sold out. These gardens will have to go for a total reorganisation of their set-up if they wish to switch back to orthodox tea production now, and this would require a lot of investment. Given the ongoing crisis in the market, it is not possible for them to do that at the moment. The government provides only Rs 3 per kg as subsidy. This should be increased to at least Rs 7-8 per kg to start with. Once the process is initiated, the planters will fend for themselves.”

A tea-tasting session, prizes for the best performers among the sellers, buyers and brokers and a seminar on the topic — Promotion of the auction system — would be the primary events at the AGM. Evolution of the auction system, relevance of tea brokers, marketing of tea in value-added form, electronic auction system and orbit-shifting innovation are some of the topics that are expected to be discussed at the seminar.

Basudeb Banerjee, the chairman of Tea Board of India, will be the chief guest at the programme.

Source: The Telegraph