Prized Darjeeling Teas Boost E-Auction

KOLKATA, West Bengal, India

A decision by the Calcutta Tea Traders Association to offer Darjeeling tea beginning in April will boost participation in the country’s three year old e-auction.

Electronic auctions were previously focused on low-priced CTC (cut, tear, curl) tea that sells at commodity prices. Last year about half of the 980 million kilos of tea grown in India was sold via electronic bids. Orthodox and premium teas certified organic bring higher prices and are generally sold direct. About half of Darjeeling’s annual production is sold this way.

Until now the remaining 5 million kgs of tea from Darjeeling were sold through a manual auction. Prices average $6.30 kg for Darjeeling, which is three to five times greater than CTC.

During its early days, the electronic auction program, which was developed by the National Stock Exchange’s technology division NCIT suffered many technical setbacks. These are less frequent and less troublesome, opening the door to high-value transactions.

Sangeeta Kichlu, who chairs the CTTA, says the time is right: "Tea is a very precious product, so we want to learn all mistakes from the previous experience of implementation of e-auctioning first." 

"We want to reach to the maximum buyers,” she told IBNS. “The younger generation is more efficient in dealing with the advanced auctioning system."

Source: IBNS