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Sales drop as low-grade tea up for auction

Saleh Noman
20 Sep 2022 00:00:00 | Update: 20 Sep 2022 02:18:58
Sales drop as low-grade tea up for auction

This week’s auction saw a drop in tea volume with a huge quantity of low-quality tea has remained unsold.

But at present, the amount of tea is supposed to be more at every auction as the May to October is the pick time for tea harvesting.

Garden owners and auction participants said many tea leaves in the gardens were wasted due to workplace strikes in the tea gardens for about three weeks (from August 09 to August 27).

The auction held on Monday saw 51,000 bags of tea amounting to 2.78 million kilogrammes. However, on September 12 around 3.2 million kilogrammes of tea leaves were put up for auction, ‍about 420,000 kg more than this week.

Major General Ashraful Islam, Chairman of Bangladesh Tea Board (BTB), said during the Monday’s auction less tea was received than the previous auctions because tea leaves were not picked up in the gardens for several weeks due to the labor strike. As a result, leaves were damaged and there was a shortage in regular production.

However, the auction price of tea was similar to the previous week. The price did not increase much, he noted.

Tasbir Hakim, an official of Ispahani Group who sells tea leaves at auctions and buys tea for marketing, said low-quality tea had come for auction.

May to October is the season of picking up tea leaves but around 125,000 workers of 80 percent of 167 tea gardens in the country went on a strike.

At that time, no tea leaves were harvested from the gardens, while August is the peak time for tea leaf harvesting.

Quality tea leaves are not available as they have been damaged due to the strike, said Rafiqul Islam, Chairman of Bangladesh Tea Association Chittagong, an organization of tea garden owners.

“The production of tea in my own garden has halved, said an official of Udaliya Tea Garden in Chattogram.

There are a total of 167 tea gardens in the country. Of them, 80 percent are located in Chattogram and Sylhet divisions and the rest 20 percent in North Bengal.

About 70 percent of the tea was sold at Monday’s auction. Most of the unsold teas were of low quality, said an official of Chattogram-based auction management firm National Breakers Limited.

But last week the number of sales was ‍more than 80 percent.