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22 Mar 2017

Tea producers' body ITA hits road, FB to woo traders, youth

Sovon Manna | TNN | Mar 22, 2017,KOLKATA: In order to woo youth and traders across the country, top producers' body Indian Tea Association (ITA) has embarked on a two-phase roadshow this month. Chanting the 'catch 'em young' mantra, the association has also taken the social media route to promote the morning cuppa. An ITA brass is now hitting the roads of Indore, Bhopal in MP and Nagpur in Maharashtra as part of its second phase from March 20-23, which is proving to be a good people connect.



The association in its B2C and B2Y campaigns experimented with serving different flavours of tea among youngsters and has found that over 80% of the youth liked iced tea in malls and educational institutions. ITA is now gearing up for a social media blitzkrieg to reach out to the GenY.


On the youth focus, ITA chairman Azam Monem told TOI: "India's per capita tea consumption is around 365 cups a year, which is pretty poor compared to the other tea-drinking nations. If we have to better this figure, we have to make our young generation drink tea, which is cheaper and healthier than all other regular beverages available. Today, the youngsters which constitute around 40% of population are not drinking tea."


In the past, ITA had organized B2B (business to business), B2C (business to customers) and B2Y (business to youth) roadshows. The first phase, it has covered Jaipur, Udaipur, Ahmedabad and Baroda over March 6-9. The B2B roadshow would entail buyer/seller interactions. The producers are meeting first-time drinkers, buyers and articulated the problems and prospects of the tea industry.

ITA secretary Sujit Patra who is travelling with the roadshow team said, "Producers are facing problems owing to huge cost, of which 70% is fixed cost. Competition from other beverages is there. We could address some of these issues through improvement in prices and better trade sentiment. A presentation has been showcased on industry issues covering scenario on crop, price, cost and sustainability."


For the last two years, quality tea is not getting support of traders and producers are fetching lower price. There is a need to protect the quality segment through engagement with the buyers and trade. ITA's B2B programme is seen as one of the platforms for such communication.





During interactions, traders have raised issues like lower quality packaging, misuse of various grades, shorter shelf life, presence of iron filings, poor quality of end-season tea particularly from bought leaf factories (BLFs). "Some producers are selling secondary teas as primary teas. They also stated that efforts should be done to boost consumption of tea in the domestic market," complained a tea trader based in Baroda.



ITA has assured them that the problem won't recur. "Buyers also have been advised to inform ITA and Tea Board of India with the name of those suppliers so that corrective measures could be taken. ITA will also advise gardens to strictly follow guidelines in regard to grading. We have taken up the matter with the Centre and Fssai," said Patra.




On boosting domestic consumption ITA told that India it is a vast market of around 1000 million kg and many countries are trying to enter into the market. "Unless we protect and energise this market it will become disastrous to the industry and over ten million direct and indirect livelihood," Patra added.

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