Kochi: The Tea Trade Association (TTA) of Cochin has decided to set up a state-of-the-art tea trade centre (TTC) here with the backing of the Tea Board of India, an official said. The proposed centre will come up on 10 acres of land provided by the Cochin Port Trust. "The port trust will provide the land to the TTA to create facilities with international standards of productivity and automation and manage operations. The Tea Board of India has assured support," Paul Antony, chairman, Cochin Port Trust, said.
The project proposes a fully-automated warehousing facility with capacity to store about 10,000 tonnes of tea, modern processing equipment and office space for corporate houses. The centre also proposes to introduce common processing facilities to promote production of value-added tea in the domestic market, which is dominated by the dust variety of tea.
Antony said Willlingdon Island in Cochin Port is the main tea auction centre in south India. "The large number of brokers, buyers and sellers operating here transact about 70 million kg of tea every year. However, operations are scattered and labour intensive with blending being done manually," Antony said. "The tea trade centre with modern amenities for warehousing, blending and packaging will emerge as a major consolidation centre," Antony added.
TTA in a recent meeting had decided to identify potential investors among its members for the project. "Such a centre of international standard has the potential to grow as the world's major tea hub. Tea from different sources would reach here and value addition facilities offered by the centre would attract overseas buyers," outgoing TTA chairman V. Unnikrishnan said.