Arunachal tea garden scripts auction history

GUWAHATI, Aug 23 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 8/23/2018 12:33:07 PM IST

Donyi Polo Tea Estate in Arunachal Pradesh scripted yet another piece of history when a grade of specialty tea – golden needles – sold for Rs 40,000, the highest price fetched ever at the auctions till date, The Shillong Times reported.

A line of 1.1 kg of the grade was bought by city-based Assam Tea Traders at the record price and sold by Contemporary Brokers Pvt Ltd during Sale 34 at Guwahati Tea Auction Centre on Thursday morning.

In November last year, the same variety of Donyi Polo, located at Oyan village near Pasighat in East Siang district, had fetched Rs 18, 801 per kg.

Golden needles tea is a superlative China black tea that originates from Yunnan province.

 “The variety is made from a special clone and comprises newly-emerged buds which are delicately plucked. The leaf has a coating of golden coloured hair, which makes it soft and velvety, while its liqour is bright golden with a mild body, sweet taste and sugarcane pulp-like aroma,” Manoj Kumar, senior manager of the garden, told The Shillong Times on Thursday.

 “As a matter of fact, Donyi Polo is the only garden in the country that makes golden needles. The tea is hand-crafted by a trained workforce from Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. There was an upper limit of Rs 40,000 for the bid and I am happy that it was sold at that rate,” Kumar said.

The garden’s proximity to the cold, glacier-fed Siang river, he said, made all the difference, contributing to the uniqueness of the specialty tea.

Donyi Polo, which operates under Siang Tea and Industries Pvt Ltd, was set up in1987. Apart from specialty teas, it manufactures CTC, orthodox, Oolong, green and white teas.

 “The price fetched is not new for the estate, which has been producing superb specialty teas. In June, its silver needles white tea had fetched a record Rs17,001 per kg at GTAC,” informs Swashat Dutta of Contemporary Brokers.

Lalit Kumar Jalan, the proprietor of Assam Tea Traders, said the tea was bought in part for a Kanpur-based wholesaler and an e-commerce website apart from a portion for their retail counter in Guwahati.

 “The trend of speciality teas being sold at good prices at GTAC has not gone unnoticed, and buyers have been waking up to the fabulous varieties produced in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh,” Jalan said.

Experts foresee GTAC becoming a global hub for specialty tea, attracting more business for the centre and global buyers.

Dinesh Bihani, the secretary of Guwahati Tea Auction Buyers Association, said specialty teas are attracting more and more buyers and producers to come together and use the GTAC platform. “We hope these specialty teas put our gardens in the world map and help revive past our glory,” Bihani said.

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