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Price of Assam tea falls

19-May-2003

The average price of leaf grade Assam tea fell by 10 per cent to 64.20 rupees (€1.17) per kg at the Calcutta auction last week, according to Reuters report.

A few months ago, the tea was selling for anything up to €1.82 per kg.In leaf grade orthodox teas, the average price at the auction was less than half a per cent lower at 72.32 rupees per kg compared to the previous Friday.

These figures follow months of sluggish activity within the Indian tea export market.

Iraq had been a major market until the recent conflict, and there has been increasingly stiff competition from countries such as Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

India's beleaguered tea industry has stressed the need for a regulatory authority to monitor quality of the beverage to help arrest the sharp plunge in tea prices and save planters from ruin.

Many tea industry experts believe that a decline in quality of Indian tea has led to the crash in prices.

The Assam government is soon expected to convene a meeting of tea industry captains, experts and federal commerce ministry officials.

Assam accounts for 55 per cent of the country's total annual production of 806 million kg.

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