Budget Offers No Relief for Tea Industry

Sale 4 | Ep 102
21 January 2023

India’s tea industry response to the newly released Union budget is largely that of disappointment at the lack of attention to the sector. Darjeeling planters expressed surprise there is no funding for interventions to curb imports from Nepal to protect the status of Darjeeling tea.

  • No extraordinary relief for the tea industry
  • Darjeeling disappointed as no curbs on Nepal tea imports announced
  • India sees cold wave in parts, with rain predicted in some tea regions
Sale 4 – India Price Watch by Aravinda Anantharaman
Tea plantation in Jeju Island, South Korea. Photo by Artem Orlyanskiy (Aracle) | Dreamstime

Sale 4 – 28 January 2023

Response from the tea industry is largely disappointment at the lack of attention to the sector. Darjeeling planters have expressed surprise at the lack of interventions to curb imports and to protect the Darjeeling tea status. UPASI, the body representing planters in south India, took to Twitter to share their views. In its pre-budget proposal, UPASI sought to increase the allocation of funds for the Commodity Boards to implement developmental schemes, they said the Tea Board saw a marginal increase in Budget Estimate for 2023-24 to INR 3.08 crore ($367,286).  

One of the proposed projects is the Aatmanirbhar Clean Plant Program to boost the availability of disease-free, quality planting material for high-value horticultural crops. This could promote intercropping with these high-value crops in the plantation sector. 

An agriculture accelerator fund was also announced to encourage agri-startups in rural areas. And lastly, the state governments have been asked to promote indigenous and GI-tagged products via a Unity Mall, which could help promote teas. Tourism promotion is another sector the budget brought up, which could impact the tea sector. 

India Price Watch

Sale 4 saw 12,185 tons on offer, with 80% of the tea in auctions sold, which is an improvement over last week. The overall average price was Rs 146/ kilo. The top-selling grades are BP, followed by BOPSM and BOP. 

Kolkata saw strong demand for orthodox and also for Darjeeling and Dust Grades. The Middle East and CIS were active for orthodox. As a result, 88% of orthodox on offer was sold, averaging Rs 173/kilo. 

Guwahati saw better demand for CTC Dust. However, prices were similar to the previous week. 

North India Sale 4 vs. Sale 3

In the south, Cochin saw high demand for Dust grades, pushing CTC sales to 99% and average prices for CTC at Rs 150/ kilo.

Coonoor, too saw good demand for CTC, with BOP grades being most sought after. Homedale’s PD grades fetched Rs 412/kilo at Coonoor auctions setting this year’s high price record. There was no demand from exporters or blenders. 

South India Sale 4 vs Sale 3
South India Sale 4 vs. Sale 3

Weather & Climate Change

North India has seen some rain because of an intense western disturbance over Afghanistan. Winter thunderstorms are predicted in the east, in the tea regions, which fall under sub-Himalayan West Bengal, and Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim. Dense fog is predicted in Assam and its border states. The south is also experiencing some rain, with thunderstorms forecast, including in the tea belt of Nilgiris, Idukki, and Wayanad.

Toklai Tea Research Institute, Jorhat, India

The Tea Biz weather report is made possible by the Tea Research Association of India. 
Click to download the Tea Planters Calendar 2023.