Updated January 5th, 2024 at 22:49 IST
Tea industry representatives to hold deliberations with Piyush Goyal
The tea industry has been hit by increasing input expenses and reduced auction prices.
Industry representatives from Assam and Darjeeling's tea industry are likely to meet Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal in Kolkata on Saturday, January 6. Official sources in Tea Board of India said the challenges being faced by the industry players will be discussed during meeting of the stakeholders with Goyal. The tea industry has witnessed an uncertain future marked by escalating input expenses and reduced auction prices, resulting in unsustainable operations.
The Indian Tea Association (ITA), representing planters, revealed gloom and doom, as tea prices witnessed a marginal 4 per cent growth annually over the past decade, costs for coal and gas surged at a rate of 9-15 per cent annually. Secretary General Arijit Raha expressed concern over the alarming decline in price realisation trends in 2023 compared to the previous year, signifying a significant crisis within the industry.
The emergence of small tea growers (STGs) contributed to an overwhelming surge in tea production. This exacerbated the surplus tea situation, aggravated by stagnant internal consumption and a gloomy export outlook. Tea exports from January to September 2023 plummeted by 4.93 per cent compared to the same period in 2022. Notably, shipments to Iran faced uncertainty due to payment issues, impacting nearly 20 per cent of India's tea exports and intensifying financial stress among exporters.
The tea industry players have highlighted that STGs, contributing over 55 per cent of India's total tea production and predominantly located in states like Assam and West Bengal, faced a grim situation due to the imbalance between costs and prices. Concerns raised by industry bodies like the ITA and the Tea Association of India (TAI) emphasise the need for financial aid to prevent a crisis in Darjeeling and address the shutdowns affecting over 11,000 workers in the North Bengal region. The rising input costs have notably hindered operational viability in these tea gardens, impacting price realisation at auctions and the overall industry's sustainability.
(With PTI inputs)
Published January 5th, 2024 at 22:49 IST