Assam

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...

Interim Wage Hike Quiets Assam but Darjeeling Remains Unsettled

The government of Assam just awarded tea workers wage increases of INRs30 ($0.45) per day through 2019 as an interim step in the ongoing negotiations to achieve wage parity in the Brahmaputra and Barak River valleys. Meanwhile in West Bengal tensions are rising with the announcement of a three-day strike late this month. Tea...

Assam Labor Abuse Inspires Public Awareness Campaign

Assam’s largest tea estates have been cited in disturbing reports of labor abuse and child trafficking the past few years, tarnishing the reputation and marketability of one of the world’s best-known teas. Four years ago, the World Bank, university researchers, and NGOs investigating mistreatment led to critical and widespread media coverage. The resulting consumer...

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...

Wildlife Conservation in India’s Tea Gardens

One of the world’s largest animals, the majestic elephant holds a dear place in most people’s hearts. However, a stressed elephant can kill a human with one strike of its trunk, a fact known only too well by India’s tea plantation workers, where conflict between humans and elephants is rife. Although elephants are still...

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...

Assam Tea Workers Consider Strike for Higher Minimum Wage

DIBRUGARH, Assam Frustrated tea workers are considering a walkout that could seriously impact production in the Brahmaputra Valley, the world’s largest tea-producing region. Members of the Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) labor union staged demonstrations last week in several locations in pursuit of a wage hike. A one-day work stoppage drew attention to their...

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...

Thanks to Smallholders, India Tea Exports Rebound to Record Levels

Outstanding yields in South India offset declines in Darjeeling as tea production reached a record 1,279 million kilograms in 2017, up about 1 percent from 1,267 million kilograms harvested in 2016. Exports topped 240.7 million kilograms during calendar 2017, a level not seen since 1981, according to the Tea Board of India. Exports were...