It is the prevalent trade practice to surreptitiously enhance the relative weight of a green product, be it the leafy vegetables or a tea pluck by interspersing it with oodles of water. The interspersion enhances the volume of the commodity and it is done by the seller or the grower for a better price realization. The upside of this addition is that there might be a slightly better price realization at the grower gate, and the downside of it is that it has the potential to decrease the shelf life of the product through the addition of water.
When tea companies procure the leaves for them the FLC or the fine leaf count is the reference point or the benchmark that they test a leaf on and determine the price based on this valuation. While FLC does estimate the price value of the tea leaf, surface moisture is another component that the tea companies struggle with, but they don’t have a centralized/digital solution. The tea companies have to pay extra just for the water present on the tea leaves which is a huge loss to them.
TRAGNEXT, however, has come out with a solution that has the ability to determine the moisture component along with the FLC. It was Mr. Bijoy Gopal Chakraborty, President of Confederation of Indian Small Tea Growers Association (CISTA) who after using the outreach of FLC for the tea industry had articulated to AgNext to do something about the moisture component in Green Tea as it was impacting the business of small and marginal tea growers- a segment that is more than 40% of the total tea growers of the country. Mr. Chakraborty had expressed this view while participating in a seminar organized by AgNext on Tea Industry.
Even Mr. Prabhat Kamal Bezbaruah, Chairman, Tea Board of India had urged AgNext to come up with a mechanism whereby surface moisture of tea could be stored in the cloud and it could be accessed by any of the stakeholders! He had also aspired that integration of technology in the tea industry should not be incremental but it should be a whole hog so that the fruits of new technology that other industries are enjoying and reaping profits out of it should also be enjoyed by the Tea Industry as well!
With these two new variables being added for the tea industry as a stepping stone forward for the giant leap one only hopes that the paradigm for the tea industry would change and the tea industry instead of competing amongst themselves and in the market on the basis of price would compete on the qualitative aspects, and let the quality be the determining factor for the price. Once this is done and becomes a practice for the industry, AgNext would indeed feel proud that it has changed the contours of the tea industry and has become the game changer and the intervention that initiated in 2018 of providing an FLC technology at Tocklai would start bearing fruit in a sustained manner.
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