GUWAHATI, April 24 - As auction resumed on Thursday, Assam tea saw strong demand even for old season teas. However, despite the relaxation, challenges remained for the fund-starved industry, particularly in sending samples to buyers and getting payments on time.
�There was a strong demand for nominal weight of old season teas on offer at the auction centre in Guwahati yesterday. Teas are selling at Rs 20 to Rs 30 higher than pre-lockdown levels, and at times substantially higher for select better lines,� secretary of the Guwahai Tea Auction Buyers Association Dinesh Bihani told The Assam Tribune.
However, very poor varieties of teas were neglected by the buyers and sold at below Rs 80.
Majority of buyers were upcountry buyers and there was some nominal support from big packeteers.
This week, some 28,306 packages (each package is on an average of 32 kg) were on offer at the GTAC and more than 90 per cent of it was sold.
The next sale will have season tea and the strong demand is likely to persist which might see them getting Rs 25 to Rs 30 more than last year, the industry feels.
However, some hiccups remained for the industry.
�It will be a challenge to send samples to the buyers properly and on time. Most of the buyers are from the COVID-infected places like Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat,� secretary of the Tea Association of India Dipanjol Deka said.
The gardens are working with 50 per cent workers, yet providing ration and wages to the entire workforce,� he added.
�There is a fund crunch in the gardens. They need to get the payments of sale on time, or else it will be difficult to get them going. We are keeping our fingers crossed,� he said.