And now its Nilgiri flavour at US tea expo

Chennai, Oct 30 | Updated: Oct 31 2005, 07:52am hrs
The Nilgiri Planters Association (NPA) is planning to conduct a tea auction in the US. The auction will be part of the world tea expo which is being held at Las Vegas from March 27 to 29 next year.

The association plans to aggressively showcase the Nilgiri brand of tea there, said chairman of the association TGB Pinto.

Participation in the US expo would help tea producers interact directly with buyers, retailers and opinion builders and influencers associated with the global tea business, Mr Pinto said.

It would also help planters meet the requirements of constant marketing input for making inroads into the US market and creating a niche for Nilgiri Orthodox tea, Mr Pinto told the 114th annual general meeting of NPA held in Coonoor.

In order to be more visible in the global market, the name Nilgiri Planters Association was being changed to establish the Nilgiri Society for Speciality Tea. It will spearhead the planters efforts to market the teas globally.

The central and state governments as well as the tea industry are deeply concerned about low tea prices.

Quality upgradation is given top priority by the Tea Board and consistent maintenance of high standards has become absolutely necessary to satisfy the requirements of an increasingly discerning market. One of the reasons for the low price realisation centres around the quality of the manufactured teas, he said.

Stating that quality and goodwill promotion were the two foundation pillars for the future of the Nilgiri tea industry, Mr Pinto said, the NPA logo has been registered under the Trade Marks Act .

The act could be used by tea producers who adhere to good manufacturing and quality standards, those who maintain the pesticide residues at levels permitted by the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act and follow high ethical assurance standards and adhere to hygiene and safety standards.

Mr Pinto said that the speciality teas with high standards fetched attractive prices from tea buyers who came from the US, Germany, Japan and Oman. Over 72% of the total quantity of 4,626.50 million kg tea was sold. The approximate value was Rs 15.86 lakh.

The highest price was Rs 3,300 a kg for the Nonesuch Buds Only tea. However, the average price worked out to Rs 470 a kg.