Indian Tea Exporters Association Applauds Government’s Move for 100% Auction of Dust Grade Teas

Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], March 12: The Indian Tea Exporters Association strongly endorses and welcomes the decision of our Ministry of Commerce to require the 100pct sale of all dust-grade teas via a public auction on a trial basis.

The Indian Tea industry is passing through a critical phase, largely due to an oversupply of lower-quality teas and questionable compliance standards. Govt of India has since long had a statutory provision requiring 50pct of all tea production to be sold via public auction, but that has been wilfully flouted. Similarly, compliance issues, which are key to boosting tea demand domestically and overseas, have often been flouted. This resolve by the Government to make the tea industry cleaner is most heartening.

The gazette notification will unleash all demand in a central marketplace, boosting competition, demand, and price to the benefit of all segments of the tea industry. This model has been extremely successful in other large tea-producing countries like Sri Lanka, where 100 pct teas are required to be sold via auctions. ITEA believes that this trial will afford much-needed transparency and comprehensive and legitimate testing of all production units as per FSSAI protocol and will incentivise better quality production for the benefit of Indian tea lovers.

Anshuman Kanoria, Chairman of ITEA, said, “Increased availability of quality and compliant teas will boost Indian tea exports, which play the most important role in balancing demand and supply. ITEA believes that the 100 pct auction should also be extended to the export sector of Orthodox and Darjeeling teas to boost competition and price discovery. Ultimately, this initiative of the Government of India will be a win-win for the image of Indian tea and all stakeholders, barring those who have a vested interest in continuing spraying chemicals and generally depressing tea prices by flooding the market with lower-quality teas.”

ITEA is pained to note statements from some vested groups threatening to defy the directive in an attempt at unsustainable continuation of malpractices. While thanking the Tea Board of India and our Honourable CIM, ITEA calls for Unity in the Indian tea trade and urges all stakeholders to come together and accept the trial initiative in the interest of Indian tea.

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