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Halmari tea record

Calcutta, July 3: A variety of CTC tea grown by Halmari Tea Estate in Upper Assam today fetched a record price of Rs 365 a kilogram at the Calcutta tea auction.

Less than three weeks back, Halmari had sold CTC at Rs 336 a kg, which was the previous record.

A total of 533 kg of the broken orange pekoe grade was auctioned by J Thomas & Company and bought by city-based exporter Agarmet Corporation. The tea will primarily be sold to buyers in Japan.

“This was extremely unexpected and we never thought we could break our own record. Last year, around this time, the same grade of tea was trading between Rs 250 and Rs 270 a kg. The high prices are primarily because of high demand and low supply this year. There has been a production shortfall in India and worldwide,” said Amit Daga, managing director, Amarawati Tea Co. Ltd, which owns Halmari and Duliabam tea estates.

Halmari sold about 331 kgs of the same grade of tea at Rs 336 per kg in June at the Guwahati auction centre, which was bought by a local buyer for the domestic market. It was Rs 33 higher than what the same garden had fetched a week earlier at Rs 303 a kg.

The Halmari tea estate produces 1 million kg annually, of which about 5 per cent are orthodox tea and the rest CTC.

“We will sell the tea we bought to Japan and will also look out for demand in the EU and Sri Lanka,” said Shishir Agarwal, director (Assam CTC division), Agarmet Corporation, which exports about Rs 12-15 crore a year to Germany, Japan, the UK, the US, West Asia and the Netherlands.