The year 2020 will go down in the annals of the tea industry in The Nilgiris as the year of record prices.
For the first time in the 57-year history of Coonoor Tea Trade Association (CTTA), the average price ruled above ₹100/kg in every auction consecutively for six months – June-December.
In Sale 53 held on June 20 to celebrate the First International Tea Day with the support of Tea Board, the average price rose to all-time record of ₹208.47 a kg.
At this auction, a new chapter was opened in the annals of South Indian tea — not just Nilgiris tea — thanks to the joint efforts of Avataa Beverages, Golden Tips Tea Co Pvt Ltd and Paramount Tea Marketing Pvt Ltd, by creating an all-time high price record.
“We created two new price records. The Avataa Virgin Green tea, auctioned by us, fetched ₹6,110/ kg and the Avataa Oolong tea followed it at ₹5,010/kg. Both were bought by Golden Tips Tea Co Pvt Ltd,” Ravichandran Broos, General Manager, Paramount Tea Marketing, told BusinessLine.
Till November end, the earnings of CTTA auctions had risen to ₹ 770.82 crore from ₹ 504.28 crore in Jan-Nov 2019, marking a whopping gain of ₹ 266.54 crore or 52.86 per cent.
In the beginning of December, the earnings rose by ₹ 10.87 crore or as much as 117 per cent in just a week.
“Because of Covid, there is widespread awareness to consume immunity boosters and since there is a general belief that tea helps for this, the demand and hence the concomitant price have been rising for over six months now”, CTTA Chairman L Vairavan said.
“In December, we see prices crashing due to reduced spending power arising from prolonged lockdown in many States and countries and have appealed to Tea Board to intervene to prevent sharp price fall”, he said.
The Tea Board also announced record average price to the small growers in The Nilgiris. The all-time high average price was ₹ 30.03 a kg in October.
As the year ends, Tea Board has fixed ₹ 23.26 for December. “All bought leaf tea factories have been instructed to pay this price and all factory officers of the Board have been instructed to ensure that no factory in their jurisdiction paid a price less than this in December. This price has been fixed based on the consolidated average sale price fetched by the relevant teas in the auctions last month”, Tea Board Executive Director Dr Balaji said.
Tea companies have informed the Tea Board that adverse weather and lockdown due to Covid-19 have pulled down the production in The Nilgiris by 4.67 per cent till November end over Jan-Nov 2019.
“We are entering 2021 with less tea but with hopes for stabilised prices”, Ramesh Bhojarajan, President, The Nilgiris Small Tea Growers’ Association said.
“In 2021, in view of Covid-19, we will be manufacturing large volumes of immunity boosting teas including Ashwagandha, tulsi, cinnamon, ginger, Kadha and blue tea”, Avataa Beverages Director Udayakumar disclosed.
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