Speakers

Mr. Ramesh Chand Agarwal

CEO-Mohani Group of Companies, India

Mr.Ramesh Chand Agarwal, apart from CEO of Mohani Group of Companies, is the Managing Director of Mohani Tea Leaves (P) Ltd and Director of R.I.Investment & Finance Co Ltd. Under his leadership, the Company won many awards – Supplier of the year award by Wal-Mart, Three Star Category by Directorate of Industries, Uttar Pradesh (U.P), Most Promising Brand by Assocham, SME Excellence Award 2014 by Assocham, Prashasti Patra (Social Service) by the Hon’ble Governor of Bihar and SME Excellence Award 2015 by Assocham. His personal achievement include Uttar Pradesh State Entrepreneur Award (2007-08) and Entrepreneur Award-2013 by TIE UP. He held various prominent positions such as President-Tea Packeters Association of U.P, Vice Chairman-Federation of All India Tea Traders Association, Vice Chairman-Indian Industries Association, Kanpur Chapter and Member of Merchant Chamber of U.P, Assocham and Indian Chamber of Commerce. He also acted as reputed official and worked as a Project Director in various social and cultural events.

Mr. Mohamed R.Heiza

Tea Consultant, Egypt

Mr. Mohamed R.Heiza holds Honors’ Degree in Agronomy/Agro-Economics from the Alexandria University, Egypt and MBA from American University (AUC), Cairo. As a startup to his professional career, he started to learn tea tasting at Brooke Bond and Lipton in Kolkata, India for one year in 1973 with visits to tea gardens, auction centres and Ports while detailed to the Egyptian Trade Centre in Kolkata. He served at Egyptian Trade Centre in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Indonesia between 1974 and 1991. In 1983, he was elected by GATT/UNCTAD, Geneva as Professional Marketing Specialist with short term Missions in Africa and Asia. In 1992, he left Egyptian Government Service and started his own business when he represented a famous Sri Lankan Tea Brand ‘Dilmah’ for 5 years in Egypt. Subsequently he started to represent European Companies in F&B machinery, besides rendering Consultancy as a Free Lance Advisor to many up-coming new tea companies in Egypt. With vast experience and travels for more than 45 years, with special emphasis on Tea Business, Mr Heiza is still associated with TBI, ITA and Indian Embassy in Egypt to facilitate any Indian Tea Missions or meeting held in Egypt and render all services to any serious Indian Tea Company who wants to have access to the difficult Egyptian market. Also keeping Liaison with Governmental Sector in this regard.

Mr. Muhammad Hanif Janoo, Managing Partner

Haji Razak Haji Habib Janoo, Pakistan

Mr. Muhammad Hanif Janoo is the Managing Partner, Haji Razak Haji Habib Janoo, Pakistan. He holds MBA degree from Institute of Business Administration, Karachi University. He joined family business dealing in import of Tea, Milk Powder and other items, in 1962 as Partner. He was the President of Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry(1997-98), and Chairman of Pakistan Tea Association in many occasion between 1992-93 and 2011-12. Presently he holds the honorary positions such as the Honorary Consul of Republic of Kenya and Director of Eswaran Brothers Exports (Pvt) Ltd, Colombo, Sri Lanka. He lead Tea Delegations to Bangladesh (1999), Indonesia (2000), Vietnam (2000 & 2012) and India (2012).

Mr Mahesh P Ramnani, Founder and Managing Director,

Rasa Trading Company

Mr.Mahesh P.Ramnani was born in Accra, Ghana, raised in Barcelona, Spain and educated in England. He worked in Nigeria, Singapore and the Baltic region. He is the Founder and Managing Director of Rasa Trading Company in Tallinn, Estonia, where the “Cha” tea brand was established. Cha was born out of an idea to create an “honest and real tea”, Organic and easy for people to appreciate and understand, starting from the packaging to the ingredients. Engaging non-traditional tea drinkers, the Millenials whilst providing a top notch affordable tea that appeals to all types of tea drinkers. Single Estate sourced Black and Green teas with the flavoured varietals all being blended with natural Organic extracts.

Mr. Yahya Beyad, Chairman Britannia Tea

Mr.M.Yahya Beyad is a multi-lingual entrepreneur, with global experience. Alongside International business interests, he is the Chairman of Britannia Tea and on the Board for other UK companies as well. With deep rooted family connections in the Indian and Iranian tea trade, going back as far as the Silk Route, he has a deep knowledge and passion for tea and is an eminent ambassador for promoting Indian tea globally.

Mr. Harish Bijoor, Brand-expert & Founder, Harish Bijoor Consults, Inc, Bengaluru, India

Harish Bijoor is a Brand-thinker and practitioner operating out of Bengaluru, India. He runs a unique boutique-consulting outfit branded “Harish Bijoor Consults Inc.”, a brand name that has a consulting presence across the markets of Hong Kong, Seattle, London, Istanbul, Dubai and the Indian sub-continent. Harish has spent his career across the aggressive realms of FMCG, Telecom and Consumer Durables. He is considered a marketing practitioner and thinker who is ahead of the consumer thinking curve, year on year. Harish is a public speaker who speaks to corporate audiences across the globe in the realm of motivation, people-management issues, brands, marketing and business at large. He has spoken to corporate audiences across the world for 12,100 hours to date. Harish teaches at the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad & Mohali, in addition to semesters at overseas Business schools in the US and Europe. He has been teaching at the Indian School of Business for the past 15 years. Harish has recently published a book titled, "Marketing Trends – Smart Insights into the world of Indian Business", a serious book written in a style that is distinctly young and 'MTV-ish'! He is currently involved in his second book on core branding. The book is titled, ”Brand Irrationals: a fundamental journey into brand-think”. Harish has simultaneously been commissioned to write a book on “Customer Service mechanisms” at play in contemporary marketing contexts. Harish is actively involved in research relating to Rural Consumer Behavior, Rural Retail Networks and Trade mechanisms at play. The current research exercise he is involved in spans a 6-year period covering 84,850 consumers across India. He has published papers extensively on the subjects relating to Strategic Marketing, Branding, Consumer Behavior, Retail networks, Rural marketing, Marketing research and Trend-analysis. Harish Bijoor contributes regularly to Business publications on Branding, sales, distribution and related topics.

Mr. Nobuyasu Miura, Tea Technical Adviser - Mitsui Norin Co., Ltd, Japan

After graduating from Nagoya University as a biochemist in 1975, he joined Mitsui Norin Co., Ltd., the largest packer and distributor of black tea in Japan. In the first 6 months of his employment he received valuable training on the production, tasting and analysis of tea at the National Tea Research Institute in Japan. >From then on over a period of more than 40 years, he has been committed to advancement of all aspects of the tea world. During his career he has been in charge of tasting, buying, research and development of RTD, quality control and production of black, green, oolong and herbal teas. Currently, as an advisory staff of JBTA he has been working to promote Indian Tea in Japan.

Mr. Richard A Fairburn, Vice Chairman, Trustea

Richard Fairburn worked for Unilever’s Agribusiness from 1979 to 2010, occupying various sales, marketing and general management positions in UK and East Africa including Senior Plantations Manager and Managing Director of Unilever Tea East Africa (UTEA).

Since 2010, Richard has worked as an independent consultant, advising Unilever, the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) and two family trust funds on agribusiness management, agricultural supply chains and sustainability. He is also a Senior Associate of the Cambridge University Institute for Sustainable Leadership.

For over 10 years, Richard has been involved in Public Private Partnerships in East Africa and India and is currently Vice Chairman of Trustea, the Indian Sustainable Tea Program. Based in Kenya, he is also personally involved in a number of wildlife and landscape conservation projects.

Ir. CK Liew, Deputy Chairman, Tea Trade Association of Malaysia

Born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Ir. C.K. Liew attained his tertiary education in UK and graduated with a Bachelor degree in Civil Engineering in 1981, and later a registered Professional Engineer majoring in bridge construction. He is a Chartered Engineer of UK and a Fellow member of both Institute of Engineers Malaysia and Institute of Engineers Australia. He had worked as an Engineering Consultant and Contractor undertaking various infrastructures projects in Malaysia.

He joined the family business KWF Tea Merchants in 1988 and since became the master minding 4th generation of the tea business set up by his great grandfather back in 1928. He has since very focus on tea business both locally and internationally, growing the company to trade tea with major tea producing countries around the world.

Ir. CK Liew is currently the Deputy Chairman of Tea Trade Association of Malaysia, President of Engineers Australia -Malaysia Chapter, Vice President of British Graduate Association Malaysia, etc.

As Chairman of Tea Trade Association of Malaysia from 2012-2016, Ir. CK Liew has made concerted efforts in promoting, encouraging interaction, co-operation and development of tea trade and tea culture locally and internationally by making presentation in various international tea forums. He has also led delegation from Malaysia to attend various International tea expo and forum.

Gathering all his tea experiences, Ir. CK Liew made a great leap forward and effort to organise the Inaugural Malaysia International Tea & Coffee Expo 2014. Commemorative teacakes were made to celebrate the occasion. A talk of the town Piala TTAM- Battle of Teh Tarik 2014 during the Expo marked another success event under his initiative and hard work throughout.

Prof. Dr. Subhendu Narayan Ganguly

Prof. Dr. Subhendu Narayan Ganguly holds Ph.D. (1970) and D.Sc. (1979) from Calcutta University. At present he is working as Senior Consultant, Jayshree Tea & Industry Ltd., Calcutta. He held various positions in his career such as Technical Advisor, Tea Board of India, Professor and Chairman-Department of Plant Bio Science, Bose Institute, Kolkata, Adjunct Professor-Stevens Institute of Technology, USA and Visiting Scientist-University of Zurich, Switzerland. He was elected to Fellowship of reputed academic institutes vis Royal Society of Chemistry, U.K. in 1980, American Institute of Chemist in 1981, Institution of Chemists, India and Academic Science and Technology, India.

Mr.Shantanu Biswas, Chief Operating Officer, M M Ispahani Ltd, Bangladesh

Mr.Shantanu Biswas is the Chief Operating Officer of M M Ispahani Ltd, the largest tea blender and packer in Bangladesh. He has over 40 years experience in tea with fair experience in consumer behaviour, demand pattern, product diversification, market trends etc. He served as a Chairman of Tea Traders Association of Bangladesh for three consecutive terms. Mr.Shantanu Biswas represented Tea trade in various government and non Government forums and took active part in National and International seminars on Tea and in Tea Convention.

Kaushal Dugar, Founder & CEO, Teabox

Kaushal Dugar is the founder and CEO of Teabox, an e-commerce company that is disrupting a $60 billion tea industry with its innovations in technology and the supply chain with a vision to build India's first global premium tea brand. Teabox has also been rated as one of the hottest start-ups in the Food+ Tech category. Kaushal is a featured entrepreneur in leading publications such as New York Times, CNN, Forbes and The Economic Times, among others. Teabox has also won the Internet Retailer of the Year award in 2015 by World Retail Congress and was selected as one of India's coolest start-up in 2014 by Business World and most recently was profiled as One of India's Top Twenty Emerging Companies in 2016 by the Mayor of London's office. Also, Kaushal has been selected as Young Turk by CNBC-TV18 and the prestigious AACSB Influential Leader Award.

Prior to Teabox, Kaushal worked as a corporate finance analyst and strategy consultant at KPMG Singapore, where he worked on long-term corporate strategy development and corporate finance projects across a range of industries.

Kaushal graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s of Business Management from the Singapore Management University (SMU).

Mr.Sushant Dash, Regional President – India, Tata Global Beverages Limited

Mr. Dash joined Tata Global Beverages in 2000, and has successfully handled various strategic and operational roles for the organisation. Some of his previous roles include Marketing Head for India, Team Leader of a Venture Team based in UK, and Senior Director – Marketing and Business Development – for Tata Starbucks. In his most recent role, he was the Global Brand Director of Tata Global Beverages. Prior to joining the Company, he worked at ORG Marg in various capacities in Consumer and Market Research.

As Regional President – India, Mr. Dash is responsible for spearheading business growth plans for the region and leading & developing marketing & sales strategy for India.

Mr. Dash holds a post graduate degree from Mudra Institute of Communication, Ahmedabad (MICA) and is a graduate in Economics from Ravenshaw University, Cuttack.

Dr. Shatadru Chattopadhayay, Solidaridad

Shatadru is a doctorate in International Economics. He has been dedicatedly working for last 16 years on sustainability issues across Asia. He specialises in sustainability standard development, sustainable sourcing and supply chain development along with stakeholder management. He has founded or played a key role in developing country specific sustainability standards in agro-commodities in India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. He has also written 3 books and coordinated many research works on sustainable development. He is the founding Managing Director of Solidaridad in South and South East Asia and is supervising its operations in 8 countries for last 9 years.

Krishan Katyal, Chairman & Managing Director, J.Thomas & Co Pvt Ltd

KRISHAN KATYAL is Chairman & Managing Director of J. Thomas & Co. Private Ltd., the oldest and largest Tea Auction firm in the world, and is a professional Tea Taster and Auctioneer. He joined J. Thomas in 1977, and was inducted into the Board of the Company in 2001. He has conducted generic Indian tea promotions on behalf of Tea Board India, Indian Tea Association and Darjeeling Tea Association at various International venues from 2003 onwards. He has been a member of the Tea Advisory Committee appointed by the Ministry of Commerce, 2004 to 2006, and a Presenter at several International Tea Conventions. He has been part of various Committees of GTAC, CTTA and Tea Research Association and Special Invitee to the Board of Tea Board India. Mr Katyal is a member of the North Indian Tea Council constituted by Tea Board.

Nico Roozen, Solidaridad

Nico Roozen is a Dutch economist who founded Max Havelaar, in 1988, the first fairtrade label for coffee and co-founded the Fairtrade International platform. Nico played a key role in convincing several major European retailers to offer Fairtrade goods, which later led to the commercial success of Fairtrade certification. On October 25, 2007, Nico Roozen received a Royal Honour (Officer in the Order of Orange Nassau) for his dedication for years to Fair-trade. In 1996, Roozen launched AgroFair, the first Fairtrade fruit company in Europe. He further initiated Kuyichi, the first fairtrade fashion brand in Europe in 2001. In the year 2002, he co-initiated UTZ Certified- a CSR label for sustainable coffee, tea and cocoa where he served as Chairman for several years. In 2004, he initiated MADE-BY, a platform for cooperation of 33 fashion brands aimed at making their production chains more sustainable. Since 2006 he has promoted Round Tables for sustainable soy (RTRS), sugarcane (Bonsucro) and cotton (BCI). Nico Roozen founded Solidaridad Network that is operational in 54 countries across the world and is director of Solidaridad Netherlands since 35 years.

Gilbert F Kendzior, All Points Tea Consulting, USA

After service as an Engineer with the Gurkhas, Gilbert joined Lipton as a trainee tea buyer in 1980. He progressed through Sri Lanka, followed by seven years in Malawi and Kenya. There Gilbert honed his skills as a tea taster and auction buyer, he spent much visiting the tea growing areas to learn about tea manufacture.

In 1990 he moved on to Canada in order to select teas for the Unilever brands, then in 1993 he moved to the US where he was very involved not just in tea purchasing but blend development, supplier selection, herbal sourcing and enjoying frequent visits to many areas of tea production.

Gilbert retired from Lipton in 2011but now has his own tea consultancy business “All Points Tea Consulting” and in his spare time is a firefighter in his hometown and volunteers his construction skills with Habitat for Humanity. He and his wife May enjoy consuming enormous quantities of tea!.

Nadeem Ahmed, Global Tea and Commodities Ltd

Mr Nadeem Ahmed is a serial entrepreneur. Under his leadership, Global Tea and Commodities Ltd have grown from a small start up with 2 employees in 1991 to over 3000 people today.

Born in Kolkata, India, and after graduating in Economics and Finance from St Xavier College, Kolkata, Nadeem set out to start and grow the company in distant UK and Kenya.

In the last 25 years, Global Tea has made 16 acquisitions ranging from Brooke Bond Tea, Red Mountain Coffee (from Unilever UK) to the acquisition of over 50,000 Acres of Tea, Coffee and Macadamia nuts plantations from the British Government (CDC) in Tanzania and Malawi, 8000 Acres of Makandi Tea and Coffee (ex Lonhro) to Typhoo Tea Ltd (ex Premier Foods Ltd), an iconic British Brand acquired in partnership with Apeejay Surrendra Ltd.

Value addition has been the focus of the company and both Typhoo Brand in the UK and Kericho Gold and Baraka Chai in Kenya are now the second largest packers of tea in Europe and Africa respectively. Typhoo Tea currently has 65% market share of the UK private label business.

In 2005 Nadeem set up the first tea export processing zone in the African tea industry and Gold Crown Foods (EPZ) Ltd was formed in Mombasa. This is today the largest exporter of value added tea from Kenya with exports of over 15 million kgs which is over 90% of all Kenyan valued added tea exports. During the same year, Global Tea was conferred with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Sustainable Development. In addition, Global Tea is also the largest Independent Bulk tea exporter from Kenya with over 55 million KGs exported in 2015.

The coffee and Macadamia nut plantations in Malawi are now 100% export oriented units, with state of the art processing factories exporting to Japan, USA, Europe, China, Taiwan, Korea etc.

The group sales are in excess of USD$300 million and is amongst the largest tea companies in the world.

Nadeem is actively involved with many social and charitable institutions to name a few as follows;

  • Patron of the British Asian Trust founded by Prince Charles in 2007
  • Member of Institute of Directors, London
  • Member of The Arts Club, London

Per Bogstad, Rainforest Alliance

Per Bogstad has, since joining Rainforest Alliance in 2010, lead efforts to maintain and enlarge the market in the UK for crops sourced from certified farms. Per has steadily built on the commitments of the 4 biggest UK tea companies; adding the 5th and continuing to grow other big-business commitments across all food and beverage sectors and markets.

At Rainforest Alliance, Per is the global lead for tea and has, over the past four years, led efforts to build a market presence for Rainforest Alliance in India, Sri Lanka and East Africa. Per is driving major commitments from the UK retail sector and from brands in India.

Per has worked for organisations focused on conservation and sustainable livelihoods since 2000, before that he worked in advertising. He remains deeply passionate about the need to engage business in finding solutions that deliver a vibrant present without compromising our future. He started that journey in Wales, UK, where he studied International Politics and Economics. Per was born and bred in London and lives there now, with his family.

Ms. Musdhalifah Machmud, Deputy of Food & Agriculture, Coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs, Republic of Indonesia

Mrs. Musdhalifah Machmud is engaged as Deputy of Food and Agriculture, the Coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs, Republic of Indonesia. She manages for Food and Agriculture, including strategic policies which made by the Ministry. Her coordination and strategic policies includes rice, red meat, corn, soya bean, palm oil, cocoa, tea, rubber, sugarcane, biofuels, horticulture products, fertilizer, seeds, and other agriculture issues.

Between 1988 - 2003, Mrs Musdhalifah served the Ministry of Forestry. Mrs Musdhalifah holds master degree from Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) in Indonesia, postgraduate education in ITC Enschede, The Netherlands for evaluation and monitoring of environmental change, and bachelor degree in Management of Forest from Bogor Agricultural University (IPB) in Indonesia.

Paras Desai, Executive Director, Wagh Bakri Tea Group

Mr.Paras Desai is the Executive Director of Wagh Bakri Tea Group. He holds a Diploma in Management Studies from Ohio State University, USA, and is a skilled tea taster. Mr.Paras Desai is a 4th generation entrepreneur in Wagh Bakri Tea Family and joined the business in 1993. In last 23 years, with his vision and expertise, the company has progressed well and recently received “CNBC Gujarat Ratna Award” by Hon. Chief Minister Smt. Anandiben Patel and “Assocham - Most Promising & Trusted Brand of the Year 2016” by Hon. Union Minster of State for Agriculture & Welfare Shri Pushottam Rupala. He was instrumental for factory expansion which has led to 50% increase in production capacity. He successfully initiated modernisation of warehousing and storage that significantly increased storage index. Moreover he was major force in setting up at Wagh Bakri a NABL certified laboratory that ensures consumers getting purest form of teas. Mr. Paras Desai is also active in many CSR activities in his personal capacity and also lead CSR activities on behalf of Wagh Bakri Tea Group in women empowerment, education & rehabilitation. Mr. Paras Desai is part of major associations and holding important position such as President of “Western Indian Tea Dealers Association” (WITDA) and the Vice Chairman of “Federation of All India Tea Traders Association” (FAITTA). He has represented Wagh Bakri Tea Group in several national and international tea and trade forums.

Mr. Jayaraman Thangavelu, Chairman, UPASI Tea Committee

Mr. Jayaraman Thangavelu is an Agricultural Graduate and runs a family business of cultivation and manufacturing of tea with an experience of 37 years. He is the 3rd generation of the family in tea plantations. He has occupied various positions as Chairman of the Nilgiri Planters’ Association and Planters’ Association of Tamilnadu. At present he is the Chairman of the UPASI Tea Committee.

Mr. Prashant Bhansali, CEO, Kairbetta Estates

Mr. Prashant Bhansali is the CEO of Kairbetta Estates, a family-run tea plantation and an orthodox tea manufacturer.

He is a Past Chairman of the Nilgiri Planters Association as well as the Planters Association of Tamil Nadu. He has served on the UPASI Executive Committee for the past 7 years.

He started on the plantation at the age of 21, and has since grown the business to export 70% of the plantation's production. Having exported to traditional markets for over two decades he is keen to understand the dynamics of exporting tea to emerging markets.

Mr. Shu Xuechang, Proprietor, Henan Jiuhuashan Tea Co,. Ltd, China

Mr. Shu Xuechang is the Proprietor of Henan Jiuhuashan Tea Co,. Ltd, China, Executive member of the Council of China Tea Marketing Association (CTMA) and Deputy Director of International Exchanges and Cooperation Committee of CTMA.

Mr. Shreedharan Chandran, Director, Woodbriar Group

Mr.Shreedharan Chandran, attended the Mechanical Engineering program at the Imperial College of Science and Technology, London. He is a director with the Woodbriar Group. The group produces over 15 million kgs of tea, with gardens in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and West Bengal. The group also has interests in other plantation crops, Insurance, and hospitality.

His accreditations include the following:

  • Member of the UPASI Executive Committee and Tea Committee
  • Past Chairman of the Planters Association of Tamil Nadu
  • Past Chairman of the Coimbatore Tea Trade Association

Mr. Dipak Shah, Director, Crystal Tea India Pvt Ltd

Dipak Shah is the Director of Crystal Tea India Pvt Ltd., a company which has a legacy of about 8 decades in tea industry. Crystal Tea specialises in private label packing of teas in value added form like Tea bag, Caddies, Gift packs etc. The speciality of the company is to create innovative and speciality teas by adding Herbs, Fruits, Flowers etc., which we endeavour to source indigenously. Company is extensively catering to the European Brands. An array of new range of very premium premixes is in the offing.

Mr.Dipak Shah has served as the Chairman of South India Tea Exporters Association for 8 years in succession till about 10 days back.

Dipak Shah is a Graduate in B.Com., and has undergone a year of thorough Tea Tasting from J.Thomas & Co (pvt) Ltd., in the beginning of the career.

Mr.Mohan.C. Varghese, GM- Tea Manufacture, KDHP Company (P) Limited

Mr. Mohan. C. Varghese is a graduate in science from Loyola College, Chennai. He is currently the General Manager-Tea Manufacture at Kanan Devan Hills Plantations Co. Pvt. Ltd. at Munnar, Kerala.

He was Secretary from 1996 to 2004, of the High Range Wildlife & Environment Preservation Association, a long-standing NGO based in Munnar, and was its Chairman from 2005 till 2013. Apart from organizing 2 national conferences on Biodiversity conservation, he was organizing convener of the ‘World Congress on Mountain Ungulate’, an international Wildlife management conference held at Munnar, Kerala in 2006. He has been closely associated with the preparation of a Management Plan for the plantation landscape, in conjunction with the Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India.

Dr. B.Radhakrishnan, Director, UPASI Tea Research Foundation

Dr. B.Radhakrishnan, started his career in the Entomology Division of UPASI Tea Research Institute in 1983. He served in the capacities of Advisory Officer, Senior Advisory Officer and Assistant Director in the Regional Centres of TRF in Wayanad, Munnar and Coonoor and then took over as Joint Director of UPASI TRF. He is the first Ph.D. from UPASI Tea Research Institute. He has over 33 years of research and Advisory experience in UPASI TRF to his credit. Ha had published more than 175 research papers in National and International journals. He was awarded the Fellow of the Indian Society of Plantation Crops in the year 2014. His major contributions are in the field of bio-ecology and management of tea pests, organic farming, sustainable agriculture, vermiculture, pesticide residues and semiochemicals.

Mr. Unnikrishnan V, Sr. Vice President- Plantations (Tea), A. V. Thomas Group of Companies

Mr. Unnikrishnan V. has over 25 years of experience in South Indian tea gardens. Currently he coordinates the activities of the tea group in the capacity of Sr. Vice President- Plantations (Tea) at A. V. Thomas Group of Companies. He was the Chairman of the Cochin Tea Trade Association for the year 2011-2012 and is the Convener of the TGLIA organising committee from the year 2014-15.

Mr.N. Dharmaraj, President-UPASI

Mr. N. Dharmaraj, Graduate in Agriculture Science, has over 44 years’ experience in Plantations business. Mr. N. Dharmaraj started his career managing Tea Plantations and factories in South India with Tea Estates India Ltd. (part of Brooke Bond Group) and Doom Dooma Tea estates in Assam (part of Hindustan Lever Plantations).

He worked at the Unilever Plantations and Plant Science Group with Head Quarters in Cambridge, UK, supporting supply chain integration, among other things.

Subsequently, he headed the Tea Business of Harrisons Malayalam Limited for 11 years based at Cochin.

He worked as CEO of Shapoorji Pallonji Agri-business vertical for one year, a job which involved the company's foray into large scale agricultural operations in Africa, before returning to Harrisons Malayalam heading RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group interests.

Mr. N. Dharmaraj is an Industry veteran and has been involved in number of industrial associations. He was a vice chairman of the Association of Planters of Kerala and member of Tea Board of India and the founding Convener of Golden Leaf India Awards (TGLIA) which is the first ever structured Tea quality competition in the world.

He was a member of the General Council of the Kerala Agricultural University.

He was the Chairman of UPASI Commodities Exchange which has got approval from the FMC to start Tea future trading in India. He has been an official delegate of the Government of India to the FAO, Inter governmental group in Tea.

He is currently a member of Tea Council of South India constituted by the Tea Board as well as a member of the core committee of the Tea Board of India. He is currently the President of the United Planters Association of Southern India (UPASI), an apex body for all plantation crops in S. India. He is also a member of the Expert Committee on Natural Rubber, constituted by the Government of India.

Mr. Bidyananda Barkakoty, Vice Chairman, Tea Board of India

Mr.Bidyananda Barkakoty is presently the Vice Chairman of Tea Board of India. Mr. Barkakoty is a Mechanical Engineer by qualification and a Tea Planter by profession having his own plantations at Golaghat, Assam. He was Chairman of North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) for six years and presently he is Advisor of NETA. He is also an Executive Committee Member of Assam Tea Planters’ Association (ATPA), President of Tea Vision (an NGO) and a Governing Body Member of the Guwahati Tea Auction Centre (GTAC).

Mr.Barkakoty belongs to one of the oldest tea planters’ families of Assam and is the fifth generation to continue in tea plantation. He enjoys country wide friendships with different sections of the tea fraternity – buyers, manufacturers and small tea growers.

Due to Mr.Barkakoty’s perseverance and due to the many logical reasons cited by him, the then Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce headed by Mr.Shanta Kumar had recommended that tea should be declared as the National Drink of India. The Committee had tabled its report in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on 9th August 2012.

A well-travelled man, Mr.Barkakoty has written many articles on tea in newspapers and magazines.

Ms. Sheeja, General Manager - Human Resources and Operational Support, Harrisons Malayalam Limited - RP Sanjiv Goenka Group

Ms Sheeja is an Alumini of IIM (Ahmedabad) and a Law graduate from Calicut Law college. She has served in the Indian Navy’s Legal Wing (Judge Advocate branch) for 13 years and after leaving Indian Navy, she has worked in prestigious organisations like Jindal Group of companies and Spencer’s Retail (Part of RPSG Group). Currently she is working with Harrisons Malayalam Limited, RP Sanjiv Goenka group as General Manager - Human Resources and Operational Support. Ms Sheeja, is the first lady Executive Committee member of UPASI and has been continuing since 2014.

Mr. Vivek Goenka, Vice Chairman, Indian Tea Association

Vivek Goenka is President of Warren Tea Limited, a family-owned business enterprise which was acquired in 1983. Warren Tea Limited owns 7 Tea Estates in Assam producing 7.5 million kgs. of tea and is one of the largest tea producing companies in India. The Company employs over 17,000 people in Assam with its headquarters based out in Kolkata. The Company is also listed in various stock exchanges across the country.

Vivek is an entrepreneur in his own right having started a chain of hotels under the brand name “Vesta”. Vesta Hotels & Resorts currently owns and operates 3 up-market hotels in Jaipur and Bikaner. His business interests are also in the IT space through Softweb Technologies Pvt. Ltd. which makes ERP systems for various industries, including jute, tea and hotels.

Vivek is active in various social and business institutions across Kolkata including the Vice-Chairman of the Indian Tea Association and the Governing Council Member of Tea Research Association of India. He is also an active member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and was President of the EO Kolkata chapter in 2012/13.

Vivek graduated in Management Studies from the University of Nottingham and subsequently went on to complete his Masters degree in Finance and Investment from the same university.

Mr.Bharat C.Arya, Chairman, Federation of All India Tea Traders Association

Did M.Sc in Appl. Geology from IIT, Kharagpur in 1976. Joined J V Gokal & Group in 1978. Attained proficiency in Tea Tasting & Buying. Travelled to various countries to promote exports of tea, main among them Russia, Kazakhstan and helped establish brands in those countries. Also travelled to U.K, U.S.A & Canada to promote private labels and value added exports. Travelled to Kenya & Sri Lanka to establish tea sourcing offices.

Industry Persona:

  • Served as Chairman of Calcutta Tea Traders Association from 2004-2006
  • Served as Chairman of Indian Merchant Tea Exporters Forum from 2006-2008
  • Served as Chairman of Tea Packeters Association of India from 2009 to 2016
  • Member of Tea Council formed in 2012 to regulate & oversee exports and imports of tea to India
  • Member of Task Force for TRUSTEA Constituted by Chairman Tea Board to advise and oversee the functioning of Tea Industry and to evolve sustainability Code for Indian Tea
  • Chairman, Federation of All India Tea Traders Association, since August 2016
  • Chairman, Indian Tea Exporters Association, since 2015

Mr. R.Sanjith, Joint Secretary, UPASI

Mr. R.Sanjith did a post-graduation and M.Phil in Economics from Gandhigram University. He was in academics pursuing his research on Economics and had worked as Research Associate at the Centre for Development Studies, the economic research unit of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He is with UPASI for the past 15 years and is currently the Joint Secretary of the Association.

Mr.Hamid Reza Movassaghi, Chairman, Iranian Tea Association

Ms. Rita A. Teaotia, Secretary, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India

Ms. Rita A. Teaotia is an IAS officer of 1981 batch. Ms. Teaotia serves as Secretary, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India. Ms. Teaotia was Special Secretary in the Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications & Information Technology. She has previously worked as Principal Secretray in the Ministry of Rural Development; Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and at various positions in the Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India. She serves as a Director at Export-Import Bank of India. Ms. Teaotia has got a post graduate degree in History; training in financial management from IIM Bangalore and training in Administrative Law from the National Law School of India University amongst other certifications.

Mr. Azam Monem, Chairman, Indian Tea Association & Consultative Committee of Plantation Associations (CCPA)

Mr. C.Paulrasu, Executive Director, Tea Board of India

Mr. C.Paulrasu is the Executive Director of Tea Board of India. He Joined IAS in the year 2004 in the State of Himachal Pradesh. He has held various important administrative posts in Government of Himachal Pradesh. He has functioned as Head of the Department in Elementary Education and Civil Supplies Department.

Being straight forward personality he is always eager to solve public problems and never believes in sidetracking the issues. He always keeps on concentrating in systematic and as well planned manner to yield better results.

He is a good sportsman also and the spirit of sportsmanship channelizes in him a unique ability to motivate and expose best out of the subordinates to increase overall efficiency for the larger interests of the general public.