KATHMANDU, FEB 26 - Nepal’s first tea auction house is slated to open in Jhapa by April-end, the National Tea and Coffee Development Board (NTCDB) said.
The planned auction house will allow tea growers to sell their products at the most favourable rates. It was originally set to be inaugurated
on February 1, but the opening was delayed as the Ministry of Agricultural Development did not endorse the working guideline on time. Lack of funds also pushed back the date.
Prem Acharya, a planning officer at the NTCDB, said that preparations had been completed to launch the auction house on April 28 to mark National Tea Day.
According to him, the draft of the working guideline they had submitted to the ministry was at the final stages of approval. “The ministry is scheduled to hold a final discussion with local stakeholders in Jhapa next week to finalize the draft,” he said.
The tea auction house will be operated by the board in the beginning. Subsequently, it will be handed over to an independent tea auction committee. It will consist of representatives from tea producers’ cooperatives, tea entrepreneurs and other stakeholders.
As per the guideline, the committee will select the products that will be allowed to be auctioned depending on their quality and quantity. Similarly, it will also fix the number of days for a re-auction if any product remains unsold. The committee will also provide various facilities to the farmers selling their products through the auction house.
The NTCDB has estimated a budget of Rs 40 million
to construct the auction house. “However, as the
board has not received the
full budget, it plans to operate the auction house from rented premises in the beginning,” Acharya said.
The Nepal Trade Integration Strategy has also planned to establish an auction house to promote the tea business. The budget for the fiscal year 2013-14 had mentioned setting up an auction house by sharing costs with the private sector.
The proposed auction house will provide a platform for buyers and sellers to meet and negotiate prices which will eliminates the role of middlemen. It will also allow Nepali tea factories to sell their products to the highest bidder, ensuring the best possible rates.
Ilam, Jhapa, Panchthar, Dhankuta and Terhathum are the largest tea producing districts. The NTCDB said that tea cultivation was also being expanded to Dolakha, Lalitpur and Kaski districts.
The country produced 19,600 tonnes of tea in the last fiscal year. Tea is grown on 18,149 hectares and employs 9,941 small farmers.
Posted on: 2015-02-27 09:06
Source: The Kathmandu Post