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Hard days ahead for industry, says Tea Board Chairman

By Staff Correspondent
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JORHAT, July 29 - Tea Board Chairman PK Bezboruah, while foreseeing hard days ahead for the State tea industry which may lead to a possible re-run of the textile industry downfall in Maharashtra and Gujarat in the 1980s, today asked captains of the industry to roll up their sleeves to meet the challenges.

Speaking as the guest of honour at the 80th annual general meeting of the Assam Tea Planters� Association (ATPA) at the Tocklai Tea Research Institute auditorium here, Bezboruah, a tea planter himself, said the tea industry is presently facing multiple challenges and is moving towards a period of utmost uncertainty, which necessitates initiation of immediate corrective measures.

Foreseeing a gloomy picture for the industry, the Tea Board Chairman recollected how the robust profit-making textile industry in Maharashtra and Gujarat since later part of 1970s faced a severe crisis due to the emergence of the powerloom sector that eventually led to the closure of cloth mills and unleashed a violent trade union movement thereafter.

Bezboruah said the Assam tea industry may face a similar fate as the industry is facing challenges from many sides. He said one of the prime reasons was supply of tea was increasing but buyers were decreasing leading to an �oligopolistic market�, which he said could spell doom in the future if corrective measures were not taken.

Going back to tea history, he pointed out that tea, a �British invention�, started as a product has now got commoditised and has upset the market. Bezboruah blamed lifting up of barriers from the industry by the first AGP government leading to mass entry of people taking to tea cultivation.

He said there is no level playing field in the industry after small tea growers and bought leaf factories came up in large numbers, which was affecting all the stake-holders of the industry.

The Tea Board Chairman blamed fall in exports of tea in recent years due to some unscrupulous traders supplying inferior quality tea to countries like Egypt, Kazakhstan and Libya and bringing a bad name to Indian tea.

To tide over the crisis that was enveloping the industry, Bezboruah said taking to innovative ways, focusing on quality and developing new marketing skills, reducing dependence on workforce by introducing mechanisation in gardens, were some of the measures needed to initiated.

Bezboruah also informed that the Tea Board will be soon launching an e-commerce platform to facilitate producers to sell tea across the globe.

Earlier, ATPA Chairman Arun Thekedath, in his address, said that with changing demographics of the new age tea consumer, the industry needs to �capture the pallets and minds of the new generation by coming up with new varieties of tea and innovating packaging�.

The ATPA for the first time presented award to four tea estates for achieving excellence in 2016. Lohpohia tea estate was presented Golden Cup Award for fetching highest average price among member gardens in CTC sale in the GTAC.

For fetching highest average price among member gardens in Orthodox tea sale in GTAC, Bimalpur tea estate bagged the award and Mokrang tea estate got for CTC sale in the same category in the Calcutta Tea Auction Centre. Madhupur tea garden was presented the Golden Leaf Award for achieving highest yield among ATPA gardens.

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Hard days ahead for industry, says Tea Board Chairman

JORHAT, July 29 - Tea Board Chairman PK Bezboruah, while foreseeing hard days ahead for the State tea industry which may lead to a possible re-run of the textile industry downfall in Maharashtra and Gujarat in the 1980s, today asked captains of the industry to roll up their sleeves to meet the challenges.

Speaking as the guest of honour at the 80th annual general meeting of the Assam Tea Planters� Association (ATPA) at the Tocklai Tea Research Institute auditorium here, Bezboruah, a tea planter himself, said the tea industry is presently facing multiple challenges and is moving towards a period of utmost uncertainty, which necessitates initiation of immediate corrective measures.

Foreseeing a gloomy picture for the industry, the Tea Board Chairman recollected how the robust profit-making textile industry in Maharashtra and Gujarat since later part of 1970s faced a severe crisis due to the emergence of the powerloom sector that eventually led to the closure of cloth mills and unleashed a violent trade union movement thereafter.

Bezboruah said the Assam tea industry may face a similar fate as the industry is facing challenges from many sides. He said one of the prime reasons was supply of tea was increasing but buyers were decreasing leading to an �oligopolistic market�, which he said could spell doom in the future if corrective measures were not taken.

Going back to tea history, he pointed out that tea, a �British invention�, started as a product has now got commoditised and has upset the market. Bezboruah blamed lifting up of barriers from the industry by the first AGP government leading to mass entry of people taking to tea cultivation.

He said there is no level playing field in the industry after small tea growers and bought leaf factories came up in large numbers, which was affecting all the stake-holders of the industry.

The Tea Board Chairman blamed fall in exports of tea in recent years due to some unscrupulous traders supplying inferior quality tea to countries like Egypt, Kazakhstan and Libya and bringing a bad name to Indian tea.

To tide over the crisis that was enveloping the industry, Bezboruah said taking to innovative ways, focusing on quality and developing new marketing skills, reducing dependence on workforce by introducing mechanisation in gardens, were some of the measures needed to initiated.

Bezboruah also informed that the Tea Board will be soon launching an e-commerce platform to facilitate producers to sell tea across the globe.

Earlier, ATPA Chairman Arun Thekedath, in his address, said that with changing demographics of the new age tea consumer, the industry needs to �capture the pallets and minds of the new generation by coming up with new varieties of tea and innovating packaging�.

The ATPA for the first time presented award to four tea estates for achieving excellence in 2016. Lohpohia tea estate was presented Golden Cup Award for fetching highest average price among member gardens in CTC sale in the GTAC.

For fetching highest average price among member gardens in Orthodox tea sale in GTAC, Bimalpur tea estate bagged the award and Mokrang tea estate got for CTC sale in the same category in the Calcutta Tea Auction Centre. Madhupur tea garden was presented the Golden Leaf Award for achieving highest yield among ATPA gardens.