Kolkata: The Tea Board has sought an assistance of Rs 1,000 crore for the industry in the next five years starting 2022-23.
Chairman of Tea Board Saurav Pahari said that in the budget submitted to the Union Commerce ministry, focus has been on handholding the small tea growers (STGs) which contribute to 52 per cent of the total production in the country.
“We have sought an assistance of Rs 1,000 crore in the budget submitted to the ministry for a period of five years starting 2022-23”, Pahari told reporters after the AGM of Indian Tea Association (ITA) here on Thursday.
He said that the budget is primarily intended to handhold the STGs which contribute to 52 per cent of the country’s production volumes.
Pahari said the Tea Board had also sought subsidy for orthodox tea production, which has a good export market.
“It is good to note that the tea industry on the whole now acknowledges the contribution of the STGs. It should be collaborative effort between the big tea planters and the STGs for the development of the industry”, Pahari said.
He said tea exports had plummeted but now is picking up. “However domestic production has not picked up as expected. India needs to build the brand image of tea and only as a commodity”, he added.
Pahari also said that technology has to be adopted to optimise the use of labour in the industry, while production costs have to kept within control to ensure profitability.
Chairperson of ITA Nayantara Pal Choudhuri said that tea exports during 2022 are expected to touch 230 million kilogramme, as compared to 196 million kilogramme in 2021 calendar year.
She also said that cheap quality teas from some countries which are not FSSAI compliant need to be addressed immediately.
She mentioned the financial stress of the Darjeeling tea industry plagued by falling production due to reducing yields, rising input costs and almost stagnant prices.
Palchoudhuri has been also appointed as the chairperson of the proposed Asia Tea Alliance where the industry bodies of Sri Lanka, China, Indonesia, Nepal, and Bangladesh will be members.
The alliance in collaboration with Solidaridad Asia will work on issues like trade promotion, boost tea consumption and exchange of technology.
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