india

West Bengal Tea Planters Appeal to Workers to Accept Wage Compromise

WEST BENGAL, India A three-day strike last week by more than 400,000 tea workers from Darjeeling to the Dooars and Terai tea growing regions halted production at hundreds of tea gardens leading to a loss in volume and quality according to planters. The region is “in no position to bear any further disruptions,” according...

Chai Dispenser and Delivery Service In High Demand

BENGALURU, India Tech-savvy investors are fueling retail innovation in tea. A case in point is India’s Chai Point, a tea retail chain with deep roots in technology that is experimenting with customization at scale. The company, founded in 2010, now sells 300,000 cups of tea daily at more than 100 outlets, hundreds of offices,...

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...

India Tea Board Helps Finance Small Tea Factories

The Tea Board of India, noting the fact that some 60 percent of tea there is produced by smallholders, is offering to subsidize construction. The factories cost about INRs2.5 million ($38,000) and can process about 500 kilos of tea per day (25,000 kilos of fresh leaf). The Tea Board will subsidize 40 percent of...

Flat Prices Provoke Critics of India’s Tea Auctions

Darjeeling cut-tea-curl (CTC) is again filling auction warehouses and last week a green tea set an all-time high price at the Coonoor auction in South India, but all is not well with India’s auctions. India’s largest tea producers are chafing under a rule that 50 percent of the nation’s manufactured tea must be publicly...