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regular-article-logo Sunday, 14 April 2024

No consensus on tea factory closure date at Tea Board of India's meeting with stakeholders

Prabir Bhattacharjee, the secretary general of the Tea Association of India, said they sought early closure

Avijit Sinha Siliguri Published 16.01.24, 10:39 AM
Representational image

Representational image File image

The Tea Board of India held a meeting on Monday to discuss dates of factory closure for the next winter season, evoking multiple responses from tea stakeholders.

Over the past few years, the board has been stipulating the last and the first day of tea production of a year. This is being done to prevent the manufacturing of inferior teas during winter months, the lean season when tea bushes no longer have fresh leaves and buds.

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“The board held the meeting to know the opinion of stakeholders, that is, tea planters, the small tea growers and bought leaf factories on prospective dates when plucking and production of teas should be stopped,” said a source.

The tea board functions under the Union commerce ministry.

At the end of the last season, some tea associations had said that the board should bring forward the closure dates to help reduce total production and prevent the production of inferior teas.

Such proposals made the board convene the meeting on Monday. There was, however, no consensus.

Prabir Bhattacharjee, the secretary general of the Tea Association of India, said they sought early closure.

“There is a mismatch in demand and supply. If we can stop the production of teas in north India for December, it would mean a reduction of around 55 million kilos of tea out of the annual production. This can improve prices,” he said.

M.P. Bansal, the chairman of the Terai Indian Planters’ Association, also sought to bring ahead the closure dates.

Bijoygopal Chakraborty, the president of the Confederation of Indian Small Tea Growers Associations (Cista), however, said the decision should be made in July.

As stakeholders had multiple opinions, they were asked to give them in writing, to be forwarded to the ministry.

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