The tea industry in Assam has reasons to cheer after a company fetched a whopping price of Rs 5,001 per kilo for the first lot of specialty green tea produced this year.
The Mahalaxmi Tea Estate in Assam’s Golaghat district on Monday sold its first lot of specialty tea – 21 kg of specially crafted tippy Assam tea – to Ambootia Tea Exports Pvt Ltd, the largest exporter of tea to Germany and Japan.
The tea was tasted, evaluated and negotiated by Parcon (India) Pvt Ltd, one of India’s largest tea broking companies.
The Mahalaxmi Tea Estate had set up its new “Green and Specialty Tea” processing unit with brand name “Anjali” only this year. It is certified under ISO 22000:2005.
“Because of mismatch in demand and supply for CTC teas, we had decided to set up an exclusive factory for manufacturing ‘Green Tea’,” said Bidyananda Barkakoty, owner of Mahalaxmi Tea Estate.
“We adopt different manufacturing processes to make wide range of specialty teas to suit the requirement of customers.”
“The tea market has been changing across the world and it is high time India must start producing high value tea like China and other international players. As of now India’s total tea production is 1,260 million kg and 97 per cent is basically black tea,” Barkakoty added.
Expressing his happiness over fetching the price, the veteran tea planter also said that some of the Assam cultivars have the potential to make some really high value exotic tea.
“However, making the high value tea is alone not sufficient but we also need to know how to market the product. The producers in Assam lack the skills to market their product,” he added.
Sanjay Bansal, Chairman of the Ambootia Tea Group, said: “We have bought 21 kg of specialty tea for exports and we have made an agreement to buy at least 20 per cent of Mahalaxmi Tea Estate’s production for exports.”
“We will also provide them guidance from time to time to adopt Good Agricultural Practicesand Good Manufacturing Practices.”
Rajiv K. Puri, Chairman, Parcon (India) Pvt Ltd, said: “The factory is well equipped and the cultivars are suitable for manufacturing high quality teas. There is a niche market even in India for specially crafted teas.”
India’s total tea production last year was 1,250 million kg out of which Assam produced about 650 million kg.