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  India   All India  04 Aug 2019  ‘Assam tea industry in crisis due to cartel of big buyers’

‘Assam tea industry in crisis due to cartel of big buyers’

THE ASIAN AGE. | MANOJ ANAND
Published : Aug 4, 2019, 6:12 am IST
Updated : Aug 4, 2019, 6:12 am IST

Hailing the board for its decision to allow export of tea waste, it said that the guidelines in this connection should be issued at an early date.

It also urged the Tea Board of India not to force the industry to declare two per cent of its produce as tea waste. Tea waste should be declared basing on the actual waste amount, it argued.
 It also urged the Tea Board of India not to force the industry to declare two per cent of its produce as tea waste. Tea waste should be declared basing on the actual waste amount, it argued.

Guwahati: While Indian Tea Association has been advocating some pro-active steps by the government to tide over the crisis the tea industry is facing, the North Eastern Tea Association has pointed finger towards two giant tea buyers accusing them of forcing this slump in the market by buying tea at low prices.

Pointing out that tea is selling at a very slow pace and at times producers are forced to sell their produces at prices lower than the cost of production, the Neta has sought the intervention of Tea Board of India to the save the industry from all these menaces threatening the survival of age old tea industry of Assam and northeast.

In a letter to the deputy chairman of the Tea Board of India Mr Arun Kumar Ray, the Neta chairman Mr Nepul Saikia said, “Two giant buyers are buying tea at low prices. Moreover, all major tea packeteers have either lowered the maximum retail price (MRP) of their packets or have introduced new variants with lower MRP. This is very worrying for the tea industry’s survival.”

Mr Saikia further stated, “Teas imported from outside the country are re-exported by some unscrupulous circles without adhering to the Plant Protection Code (PPC) and Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) norms. There is also the apprehension that the Central government may lower the import duty on tea.”

The North Eastern Tea Association has therefore requested the Tea Board of India to examine the re-export of imported tea in the name of Indian tea and persuade the union government not to bring down the import duty on tea.

It said that promotion of the tea produced by the indigenous producers in the domestic market of the country should be of top priority for the Tea Board of India so that per capita consumption of indigenously produced tea goes up in the country. Moreover, the Board’s developmental schemes for tea should be continued in the next plan period, too, it pleaded.

It also urged the Tea Board of India not to force the industry to declare two per cent of its produce as tea waste. Tea waste should be declared basing on the actual waste amount, it argued.

Hailing the board for its decision to allow export of tea waste, it said that the guidelines in this connection should be issued at an early date.

For, it said, export of tea waste has the potential to emerge as a game changer for the tea industry.

Tea waste can be used by many other industries, including cosmetic industry. Meanwhile endorsing the appeal made by the Indian Tea Association  to the government seeking steps to tide over the crisis the tea industry is facing, the Tea Association of India said that all sections of the tea industry in the organised sector, irrespective of size, continue to suffer under severe recessionary spell.

“The industry, therefore, look forward to some proactive steps that can be initiated by the government, actions such as lowering of provident fund contribution, a robust push for a minimum reserve price for producers to offset the vagaries of the market,” TAI president Mudit Kumar said. He said a complete halt to the indiscriminate conversion of land for tea plantation is necessary.

Mr Kumar said  appeal of tea industry is made for the sake of survival of almost a million direct workers employed in the industry.

Tags: indian tea association, fssai, assam tea