ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Sugar- Scare Stories

Price Puzzles THE steps taken by the Union government to bring down the price of tea do not seem to have worked, particularly as far as domestic consumers of tea are concerned. The price of tea had soared to record heights by mid-1983. This was partly due to a shortfall in domestic output in 1981 and 1982. Also, world demand was buoyant in the wake of a big decrease in Sri Lanka's exports of tea. Indian tea sales abroad were consequently larger than in previous years. India's tea production in 1984 did go up by about 20 million kgs to 583 million kgs, but there was no down- ward movement in prices. In an attempt to reverse this situation, the government banned export of CTC (cut, tear and curl) tea with effect, from December 24, 1983. Since then the wholesale prices of plain and medium CTC teas, at the auction centres, have slipped from their peak of Rs 27 per kg by about Rs 6. To an extent, the arrivals of tea during the past two months from the gardens in South India which have had an even better crop this year could have brought down the prices, 'there are three other aspects of this dampening of tea prices that are worth noting.

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