Print Edition - 2014-06-07 | MONEY
Tea auction house gains momentum
Jun 6, 2014-
Work on establishing a tea auction house in Jhapa district has gained some momentum.
At the initiative of National Tea & Coffee Development Board, stakeholders have started collecting suggestions from tea producers and experts from national and international levels for the proposed auction house where tea prices can be fixed through bidding.
The plans to establish the auction house at Dhulabari. Currently, the Nepali tea industry is dependent on auction houses in Kolkata and Siliguri of India.
On Thursday, tea experts, traders, industrialists and farmers gathered in Kanyam, Ilam, and provided their valuable inputs. “Nepali tea has not received its real value compared to Indian products as the prices are controlled by Indian traders,” Basudev Acharya, a tea expert from India, said, adding Nepal needs to formulate effective policies and put in place an efficient management to operate the auction house.
Another tea expert from India, RD Singh said Nepali tea’s potential is as good as that of Indian tea, so the quality of the product should also be enhanced along with the establishment of the auction house. One of the major beneficiaries of the auction house will be the tea growers as they will get appropriate prices for their products. Prices will also be uniform for tea sold through the auction house.
The government allocated Rs 3 million for the auction house through its Nepal Trade Integration Strategy in the last fiscal year. A plan to establish such an auction houses by sharing costs with the private sector has been mentioned in the budget for fiscal 2013-14.
The plan to set up the auction house follows the registration of a collective trade mark of Nepali tea in a number of countries. The trade mark identifies Nepali tea as a single entity and assures the buyers about quality.
“We have expedited work on establishing the auction house,” said Raman Prasad Pathak, executive director of the board. “We expect the auction house will come
into operation by the next six months.”
Members of a taskforce formed under the board to study auction houses in other counties visited India, Sri Lanka, and Kenya, among other countries. The board is also preparing to launch the e-auction process under which tea auction can be made through internet.
Nepal’s major tea producing districts are Ilam, Jhapa, Panchthhar, Dhankuta and Terhathum. Ilam Tea Factory alone produces 130 million kg annually from its two factories at Shree Antu and Panchakanya. There are two dozen big tea factories producing tea in the region.
According to NTCDB, more farmers in Dolakha, Lalitpur, Kaski and some districts in the Mid- and Far-western regions are also getting involved in tea production. Tea is grown on 18,149 hectares of land, and 9,941 small farmers are engaged in tea production.
Published: 07-06-2014 09:39