A Kolkata tea firm has received India’s Best SME Award for Agriculture (Small and Medium Enterprise), a first for a tea company.
Rossell India Ltd., was cited for excellence of operations, topline growth averaging 23.7% over the past three year and profitability of 20% in a year where drought and floods dealt Assam plantations a double blow. Managing Director Chirinjiv S. Bedi received the award at ceremonies in December. In accepting the award Bedi said “climatic change” in the state is the biggest challenge for planters.
Rossell continued its expansion during the downturn, acquiring seven gardens in Assam. “Does a farmer stop sowing paddy because of floods or poor rains in the previous year?” asked Bedi, in a profile published by India Today, India’s leading business weekly.
“This will, I am sure, inspire us towards sustained improvement,” Bedi told World Tea News.
The year 2014-15 was one of the most difficult years experienced, he said. “The year began with an acute drought going into May 2014 and then deficit rainfall every alternate month thereafter. Crop intakes were therefore poorer than expected,” he said. “However on the quality front Rossell continued to hold its pole position as a producer of top quality teas,” he said. The division realized average sales of INRs 223.83 ($3.30) per kilo against INRs 220.7 in 2013-14, which was up from INRs 210.22 per kg in 2012-13.
“The season 2014–15 saw a robust performance on the export front. Exports registered an increase of 17.9%,” he said.
Rossell India, previously known as Rossell Tea was incorporated in 1975. It operates as a subsidiary of BMG Enterprises which manufactures aviation products. Assam gardens include Dikom, Nokhroy and Namsang tea estates, three successive acquisitions added Nagrijuli, Bokakhat, Kharikatia and Romai estates. Annual production is 5 million kilos.