Author Archives: Pullock Dutta

Sustainability of Assam’s Tea Industry Questioned

Stagnant prices lead industry captains to question the long-term sustainability of the tea industry in Assam. Speaking at the general meeting of the Assam Tea Planters’ Association (ATPA), the oldest body of ethnic tea planters in the Brahmaputra Valley, India Tea Board Chairman Prabhat Kamal Bezboruah last month cautioned that if the price of...

McLeod Russel Sells 12 Assam Tea Estates

McLeod Russel, the largest tea plantation company in the world, announced the sale of 12 estates in eastern Assam last week, continuing a decade long pattern of divestment by multinationals. The memorandum of understanding is subject to regulatory approvals, which are expected in the next few weeks. These are large estates producing a combined...

Bidders Are Setting New Records at Tea Auctions This Spring

JORHAT, Assam Halmari tea estate in India’s Assam set a world record price of $10.50 (INRs700) per kilogram for crush, tear, curl (CTC) at the Calcutta auction last month. The tea was purchased by Kolkata-based J. Thomas & Co., and Mahabod Tea House in Kolkata purchased 307 kilograms. The tea is expected to sell...

First Tea Company in India to Be Auctioned for Debt

JORHAT, Assam The Assam Company, the world’s first tea company and perhaps the most prized tea company (in terms of its assets), is going under the hammer. The company owes around INRs 1,800 crore (US $270 million), including penal interest, to its financial creditors, or lenders. The Guwahati Assam bench of the National Company...

India’s Tea Exports Increase, Output Drops

JORHAT, Assam Quality played a key role in India’s tea exports, which saw a jump of nearly 7 percent during the April–January period of 2017–18 over the corresponding period in the previous year. Last year, the country’s tea exports had touched a 36-year high of 240.7 million kilograms. The previous record was in 1981...

Quality Winter Tea Emerges After Darjeeling Crisis

DARJEELING, West Bengal Makaibari tea estate reported the first signs that the teas of this famed region benefited from last summer’s unprecedented three-month rest. The first 10 kilos of organic and sustainably produced teas from 50 kilos of leaves plucked in late December revealed a “very good” tea according to Rudra Chatterjee, director at...

India GST Rules Worry Exporters Concerned About Revealing Blending Recipes

Compliance with India’s new Goods and Services Tax (GST) reveals trade secrets that will hinder the competitive stance of tea blenders and exporters. Dipak Shah, chairman of the South India Tea Exporters’ Association (SITEA) told reporters that “asking for details of blends from exporters is like asking for Coca-Cola’s formula.” The tax requires exporters...

Golden Tea Strikes Gold

OYAN, ARUNACHAL PRADESH, India Artisan teas for refined palates have long earned boutique gardens outsized reputations and profits. It is a model pioneered in China and adapted in Darjeeling, West Bengal that spread to the Nilgiris in Southern India and now extends to Arunachal Pradesh where the Donyi Polo Tea Estate has established a...

India Tea Industry Concerned About ASEAN Trade Agreement

GOLAGHAT, ASSAM India’s domestic tea industry is sheltered from foreign competition by tariffs as high as 110 percent. A $10 kilo of tea imported from Kenya or Malaysia, China, or Japan, for example, is taxed $11 bringing the cost to $21 for wholesalers or larger retailers. Nepal is an exception, and not every type...

Canadian Peggy Carswell Keeps Phalap Brewing

MERGHERITA, Assam A sip of this golden orange color hot brew would fill your mouth with the smoky taste of a slightly bitter strong liquor. And after a round or two of the “not my cup of tea”, a feeling of rejuvenation runs through your body. Welcome to the world of phalap, an exotic...