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‘Govt. must incentivise orthodox tea output’

The government should incentive orthodox tea production and encourage tea exports to specific markets, said P.K. Bezboruah, Chairman, Tea Board.

The annual tea exports need to hit 300-million kg to have a positive impact on the average prices, Mr. Bezboruah told The Hindu here on Friday on the sidelines of the annual conference of UPASI.

Exports now are about 250 million kg. It increased 10% last year and this year, it is expected to increase by 10 million kg to about 260 million kg. The average price of tea is ₹140 a kg this year and was the same last year. While the price of tea increased from ₹7 a kg in 1954 to ₹140 a kg in 2014, the hike in cost of inputs was higher. “The price of tea has not gone up in relation to the prices of inputs,” he said.

Tea production by the organised sector is almost static. This sector is facing problems across the country because of high wages in south India and low wages in north India. The total tea production in the country is 1,350 million kg. “Small growers give the growth,” he said.

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