Guwahati: The first International Tea Day special auction of Assam tea by mjunction services limited, a leading e-commerce platform, fetched record prices at the Jorhat tea e-auction on Monday.

More than 93 per cent of the total teas on offer were sold, with buyers logging in from Assam, West Bengal, Delhi, Gujarat and Rajasthan, mjunction said here on Tuesday.

Most of the best marks of Upper Assam like Hookhmol, Lankashi, Diroibam, Aideobari Premium, Muktabari, Rungliting Tea Estate, Narayanpur Panbarry, Durgapur, Tirual, Arin, Kathonibari, Friends Tea and Pabhojan participated in the e- auction.

Pabhojan Orthodox tea was sold at a record price of Rs 4,000 per kg. Diroibam Speciality Green tea was sold at Rs 1000 per kg, and the famous Hookhmol CTC tea fetched Rs 510 per kg also record prices in their respective categories for teas sold through the e-auction platform so far.

Kamal Sharma and Pradeep Sharma, Directors of Tea World who purchased Hookhmol CTC from the platform, said, With shorter cycle time, teas sold on the mjunction platform are the freshest. We have had our own packet with brand name Shree Mangalam since 2002, and we are committed to give our customers the best of Assam tea.

Also Read | What makes Assam tea so special?

Bhaskar Hazarika, Director of Real Assam Tea Industries, which supplied the Hookhmol CTC, said, Tea estate companies are the only private sector enterprises that have survived in Assam for two centuries, despite all hostilities.

Hazarika said the Assam tea estates which have survived the nationalization bid, extreme regulation, Land Ceiling Act and numerous agitations since 1947, are now facing unprecedented challenges as the average price of tea at auctions has not increased between 2012 and 2019.

We normally see few decent prices during the second flush period; otherwise tea prices remain very low for the most part because all kinds of teas are blended and sold as cheap commodity in the secondary (retail) market, he added.

Growers consequently feel new avenues such as e- auctions could help realise better value for their teas.

Nazrana Ahmed of Diroibam Tea Estate, whose Green Tea was sold at Rs 1,000 per kg, said, This e-auction is of special significance to us as we have received the highest bid for our Specialty Green Teas.

This is the first time that mjunction services limited, an equal joint venture of state-run SAIL and Tata Steel, which mostly conducts auction of steel, coal and other minerals, organised this special e-auction in Assam.

Also Read | mjunction to organise special e-auction of tea in Assam

Producers ensure that the tea offered is of premium quality by plucking only ‘two leaves and a bud’ on May 21, which is celebrated as International Tea Day. The auction to celebrate the day is done a month later as it takes time to prepare for it, an official of mjunction services limited explained.

Under a special endeavour of the Tea Board, plucking of the tea leaves is done on International Tea Day and then manufactured as brew, followed by special auctions of these teas in June.

The first such initiative to mark the day was launched last year by the Tea Board and the special auction at six centres, including Guwahati and Kolkata, was conducted electronically on June 22, 2020.

Special auctions were conducted at auction centres this year too on Monday, while mjunction services limited, which had stepped into the tea e-marketplace world in 2020 with its tea platform, debuted in the special auction this year.

In the last one year, mjunction’s e-marketplace connected hundreds of sellers with buyers across the country, and received offerings of more than 1.3 million kg of tea from Assam, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh.

Nearly 300 stakeholders, consisting of major tea buyers and sellers, are registered on this tea e-marketplace.

Also Read | Second flush amid second wave and drought: Assam’s tea industry hit hard

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