Tea Board chairman P K Bezbaruah
on Wednesday said that prices of tea had remained stagnant for years and the present price rise is an upward correction.
He said that this is a temporary phenomenon and there will be a downward trend again next year.
Speaking at a webinar organised by Confederation of Small Tea Growers Association (CISTA), Bezbaruah said, "The present price increase is an upward correction."
There was a huge oversupply of tea last year and this was corrected to a large extent when the Tea Board ordered non-plucking of tea in December, he said.
Bezbaruah sounded caution that the present prices of Indian tea are at a higher level than those prevailing in other countries like Kenya.
"It is a cause for worry that the present import curbs on tea might get diluted in future and this will destroy the tea industry in Assam, North Bengal and the Nilgiris. Hope that the government will act in a responsible manner and save livelihoods of thousands of people," he added.
The Tea Board chairman, however, said that there will be a downward correction in prices when the crop comes in next year.
Bezbaruah also urged the industry, particularly small tea growers, to manufacture good quality green leaf.
Director (tea development) of Tea Board S Soundarajan said that the contribution of small growers to overall tea production of the country is around 50 per cent.
But the impact of COVID-19 has inflicted a crop loss of both the small tea growers and organised players.
"Hope that the prices will remain firm in the short term as there is a demand-supply gap," he said.
CISTA President Bijoy Gopal Chakraborty said that the sudden shutdown has affected the crop of small tea growers and the shortfall is around 40 per cent as compared to last year.
Excessive rainfall had also impacted the produce, he added.
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