Guwahati: What a debut in auctions – a golden one! The Nahorchukbari factory in Dibrugarh district of Assam got Rs 99,999 a kilogram of its speciality tea at the Guwahati Tea Auction Centre (GATC) on Monday.

A line of Golden Pearl, a speciality tea from Nahorchukbari-bought leaf factory, was sold at the GTAC by Parcon (India) Pvt. Ltd. at Rs 99,999 per kg on Monday. This equalises the record price established at the GTAC by a tea garden a few weeks ago. On December 14 last year, Manohari Gold from the Manohari tea estate in Dibrugarh district fetched Rs 99,999.

The tea was purchased by Assam Tea Traders, known for purchasing high-value speciality Assam teas.

The good news has just come at the start of the new season after the Tea Board of India issued notice for plucking to start in tea gardens in Northeast.

Aslam Khan, one of the partners of the Nahorchukbari, told EastMojo: “This was our debut in the auctions and we are thrilled. We will be sending more teas now to the auctions after our success.”

Nahorchukbari factory is located in Lahowal near the Dibrugarh airport. The factory is owned by AFT Techno Trade and was established in 2018 by three partners – Noor Alam khan, Imran Khan and Aslam Khan.

“We buy leaf from small tea growers of Nahorchuk, Ekoratoli and Naduwa Dikom area in Dibrugarh district and we want to thank all of them for the excellent leaf they have supplied,” Aslam Khan said, adding they source green leaf from 220 small tea growers in Assam.

A few of the small tea growers from Assam have been making very good teas and are selling them at good prices in the country and outside too.

How did the name golden strike? “We have a jewellery business and the name clicked from there,” he said.

Khan thanked Parcon (India) Pvt. Ltd for their support. The factory has the capacity to process 5.50 lakh kgs of tea.

“The price of this gold tea defines it all. Amazing hand-crafted Golden Pearl orthodox tea, one of the best golden orthodox we came across so far. The demand for such classy special character teas is already there in the market. Buyers always have a tough competition to buy these teas & sell them directly to consumers. We are very happy to win this lot for our premium customers, who always look for quality,” Pallav Jalan of Assam Tea Traders, who bought the tea, told EastMojo.

The industry says such high prices don’t reflect the reality of the Indian tea industry as the quantity sold is just one kg.

“Fifty per cent of teas in auctions in India sell below Rs 200, which is below the cost of production in the organised sector,” Vivek Goenka, former chairman of the Indian Tea Association, had said at the association’s annual general meeting held virtually recently.

He said Indian tea prices, after remaining stagnant for almost a decade, showed some promise in 2020 due to a shortfall in production. However, average prices declined by 6% in 2021.

He added that at the current production level, the estimated turnover of the industry is around Rs 22,000 crores.

“If the industry is to survive, be in a position to meet the growing aspirations of the huge number of people dependent on it and provide a reasonable ROI to the investors, the total turnover of the the industry has to increase substantially to Rs 35,000 crores,” Goenka had said.

“This increase cannot happen by way of a further increase in production but rather by an increase in price. Without a price increase, neither can the tea producer sustain,
nor make quality teas,” he had said.

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