Gujarat team on tea visit
Guwahati, April 19: They buy a lion’s share of Assam tea and slurp on its full-bodied taste — for the first time now they will visit the state and get an experience of how their favourite beverage is grown and brewed.
A 35-member team of tea traders from Gujarat — one of the largest markets for Assam tea — under the aegis of the Ahmedabad Tea Merchants Association will be in Assam from April 20-26.
They will be visiting tea gardens in Jorhat and Dibrugarh and also be part of live auctions at the Guwahati Tea Auction Centre.
The team, comprising packeteers, retailers, wholesalers, brokers and buyers, will also visit Tocklai to acquire more knowledge on tea.
According to Guwahati Tea Auction Buyers’ Association, nearly 60 per cent of good quality tea sold at the Guwahati Tea Auction Centre goes to Gujarat.
Assam, too, does not want to miss this opportunity to impress the team so that they buy more tea from Guwahati.
“There has not been much interaction between buyers and sellers of tea. This programme has been formulated to have more interaction, which will increase trade,” Bidyananda Barkakoty, chairman, North Eastern Tea Association, told The Telegraph.
Barkakoty said Gujaratis drink mostly Assam tea and are its true connoisseurs.
They appreciate a good cup of tea and are willing to pay a price for it.
“Gujaratis drink tea with milk and prefer a full-bodied cup, which only Assam tea can provide,” he said.
“A guest in a home in Gujarat is first offered a cup of tea and it is a matter of great satisfaction if good quality Assam tea can be offered,” said Nirav Patel, a tea buyer at the association.
Patel has been involved in trade with the association since 2001.
But this is the first time that tea traders are coming to Assam to understand the intricacies of tea growing, he said.
A visit to Kaziranga National Park has also been included in the programme.
“The market in Gujarat is growing for Assam tea and the visit would obviously mean more business,” Patel said.
A source said the per capita consumption of tea in Gujarat is 1 kg 36 grams per head, which is more than that of Assam, which is around 700 grams per head.
The secretary of Guwahati Tea Auction Centre, Jayanta Kakati, said they would impress the Gujarat team so that they buy more tea from the auction centre and also find out how the centre can benefit the traders from Gujarat. “Once the visit is through, we can discuss the varieties of tea which are more marketable and accordingly we can produce those,” Barkakoty said.