India Tea Board Condemns Tea Adulterators

KOCHI, India

Cochin Tea Buyers following the discovery of large quantities of inferior and artificially colored teas in the Kerala market are seeking to stop the trade and “demanded this menace be rooted out.”

Speaking at the 38th Annual General Meeting of the Cochin Tea Buyer's Association, President Benzy Jose described a series of challenges that ranged from unfavorable weather to tight capital and a spike in petroleum prices “that have collectively thrown the tea trade into great difficulty.”

He called for greater transparency in trade and urged the India Tea Board to take the necessary steps to encourage producers to sell their tea via the e-auction channel. He said the auction is more efficient due to improvements in settlement through banks.

If quality teas would get support they would fetch good price from the market, he told The Hindu Business Line. “A concerted effort to enhance the quality by the appropriate authorities will mean the availability of sufficient premium tea can be ensured in the national and international market which could lead to better prices for the producers,” Jose told the gathering.

The Tea Board has proposed quality assurance checks prior to shipment and to prevent undercutting the market, a minimum price below which the export of teas would not be permitted.
Executive Director of Tea Board, R Ambalavanan, told the 29th Annual General Meeting of the Tea Trade Association of Coimbatore (TTAC) that the South Indian tea industry has been adversely impacted by “unscrupulous elements” among domestic producers who are “using loopholes in the law to maximize their profits unethically.” The board has identified 10-15 suspected adulterators and monitoring them closely. “While the guilty would be punished, the punishment for those indulging in such activities should be made harsher,” he said.

Tea exports increase

Tea production was up 3 percent in august to 127 million kg. Exports rose 15 percent to 19.42 million kg, according to the Tea Board.

Tea production went up by 3% to 127 million kilogram in August, while exports registered an increase of 15% to 19.42 million kilogram during the month, Tea Board said today.
Exports for the first eight months of the year are down 12 percent due to weather and domestic demand. Shipments so far total 124 million kg. Output was greatest in Assam where production was up 7 percent to 84 million kg compared to August 2010.

Producers in Northern India reported a 5 percent increase to 112.7 million kg compared to last August. In South India tea production declined slightly to 14.25 million kg compared to 14.90 kg in August last year.

Sources: CNBC TV, The Hindu Business Line