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Golakpur white tea fetches Rs 10000

The 95-year-old Golakpur tea estate at Kailasahar produced 30kg white tea on an experimental basis

By Tanmoy Chakraborty in Agartala
  • Published 26.07.19, 12:53 AM
  • Updated 26.07.19, 12:53 AM
  • 2 mins read
  •  
A cup of white tea. (Telegraph picture)

The 95-year-old Golakpur tea estate at Kailasahar in Tripura’s Unakoti district has set a benchmark by selling a kilo of white tea for a whopping Rs 10,000.

“We produced 30kg white tea on an experimental basis. We sold a kilo of it at Rs 10,000 to Teabox, an online tea retailer, which has offices in Siliguri and Bangalore. They have demanded more. We have decided to increase the production. The production process needs lot attention and perfect raw materials,” said Prabir Dey, commercial manager of the tea estate.

He said they started producing white tea in May and June this year as a pilot project. “Besides fetching good prices, white tea also earned a good name as it is difficult to produce. We are getting more orders for specialty teas,” he said.

Dey said they are planning to produce more white tea because the market is profitable for specialty teas and the demand for white tea very high.

He said the garden usually produces green and orthodox tea. “We used to export green and orthodox tea to Iran and Iraq. For the past four to five years, we are exporting to Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab,” he said.

Dey said the estate is spread over 184.55 hectares and it produces five lakh kg of made tea annually, which is sold through a private sale. The price ranges between Rs 250 and Rs 300 per kg.

Tea Board of India assistant director (tea development) Diganta Barman told this correspondent that this is the first time that white tea from Tripura had been sold at such a high price. “Earlier, the Fatikcherra tea estate produced 6.8kg white tea this year. The entire bulk was sold out at Rs 5,500 per kg. The white tea produced by Golakpur tea estate has fetched Rs 10,000 per kg, which is the highest price in the tea industry. Almost one quintal of white tea is produced in the state, including by three small tea growers,” he said.

He also said a logo was recently approved for Tripura tea and the board has convinced indigenous villagers to grow tea near the border with Mizoram.

“We are trying to market Tripura tea in the face of competition from Assam tea, Darjeeling tea and other established brands. We have undertaken different initiatives like designing a logo, convincing planters to turn to organic farming and encouraging planters to cultivate different tea varieties,” Barman said.

Tripura’s climatic conditions usually aid in CTC and green tea production. However, the sector has suffered much since the last few years with several estates going bankrupt and no formal export.

Tripura has 58 operational tea gardens, among which 42 are individually owned, three are run by the Tripura Tea Development Corporation (TTDC) and 13 are operated by cooperative societies. Around 3,000 small tea growers also run their gardens with government support. Around 6,885 hectares of land is under tea cultivation.

According to estimates, 3.58 crore kg green leaf tea was produced last year. This ends up as 88 lakh kg made tea processed in different plants. Yields from Narendrapur and Mekhlipara tea gardens in West district are now sold under brands like Goodwyn.

TTDC chairperson Santosh Saha said the erstwhile Left Front government damaged the industry prospects by turning most gardens “sick”. He said the present BJP-led government was making efforts to revive the estates.