The Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in association with the Tea Board of India conducted a virtual business-to-business meeting on Friday to promote tea from Northeast in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
The meeting had participation from industry captains, senior government officials, the tea traders, tea blenders and all relevant stakeholders.
In his welcome address, ICC North East Chapter chairman Mahesh Kumar Saharia spoke about the deep commitment of ICC towards the development of Northeast India.
He highlighted the vision document prepared by Indian Chamber of Commerce and the recent acknowledgement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he addressed the chamber about the contribution of the organization towards Northeast.
Speaking about tea industry, he said despite being the largest black tea producer in the world, the per capita consumption of tea in India is low, which is 0.786 kg per year in comparison with other countries.
He said while the tea consumption in Turkey is 3.04 kg, it is 2.8 kg in Libya, 1.12 kg in Iran, 1.62 kg in the UK and 0.85 kg in the CIS countries.
Saharia complimented the Tea Board of India for the state-wise study undertaken and the focus on activities to increase per capita consumption in sates with low consumption.
The object of the series of webinar is to identify the causes and find solution for low consumptions in certain sates though tea is quiet popular there.
The Tea Board of India has a database of tea sellers, but there is no such database of tea buyers both domestic and international.
Saharia mentioned that Covid19 has brought to focus the health related properties of tea, particularly the immunity boosting properties of Assam Tea.
Tea Board of India chairman Prabhat Bezbarua spoke about creating new national and international markets for tea from Northeast.
He suggested for a bottom up approach by improving the quality of tea by the producers, marketers and blenders so that they can fetch a good price.
He said when mixed with ingredients like tulsi, turmeric and other herbs, tea is the healthiest drink in the world having the highest no of antioxidants.
Bezbarua urged the Tea Auction Centers to improve their efficiency so that there is no erratic price fluctuation in the tea price which is very crucial for the industry.
In his keynote address Tea Board of India’s deputy chairman PK Sahoo said the cost of production of tea has gone up whereas the price has been more or less flat over the years.
While the Indian consumers prefer CTC tea, the more premium orthodox tea is mostly exported.
While states like Gujarat and Maharashtra and Goa prefer good quality tea, states like Odisha and Bihar have consumption of low quality tea.
He said while Assam Tea is world famous, states like Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya are also coming up with very high quality tea.
Giridhara Rao, joint director of Industries department of the Government of India welcomed the tea sellers from Northeast to tie up with the NGOs of Andhra Pradesh to promote packaging and branding of Assam Tea.
Ramakrishna Inani, president, Federation of Telangana Chambers of Commerce and industry, explained the policy of ease of doing business in their state and urged the industry to set up their units in their states.
Dr GBK Rao, chairman, Food Committee, Indian Chamber of Commerce, Hyderabad Chapter advocated the use of bio-chemicals instead of harmful chemicals.