Agartala: Meet Diganta Barman, assistant director (tea development) of Tea Board of India who has designed a ‘concept’ machine for processing tea at a lower cost for tea growers of the state.
Speaking with EastMojo, Barman said that the tea growers of the state had very little idea about machines and factories. They face a lot of difficulties while processing the tea produced in their land. This machine will bring down the cost of production, he said.
“This machine can be set up by using wooden structure, a heater, indicator, sensors, exhaust fans and some other materials easily available in the market. By spending just about Rs 15,000, the machine can be installed in tea growers’ homes. On an average, the machine can produce 2 kg tea every day, for which it takes about 18-20 hours from plugging to packing,” he said.
The machine is built using withering trough, roller, fermentation chamber, a humidifier, and a dryer powered with a regular electric room heater.
“The products are easily available in the market at a low cost and can be managed by arranging domestic household items. Within just 3ft x 8ft, the machine has space for hand-rolling the dried tea leaves, packing them into plastic bags and sealing them off,” he told EastMojo.
“I have processed white tea, green tea, oolong and orthodox tea in the three months since the installation of this concept machine. It needs 45 minutes to process 2 kg of green tea leaves,” Barman said.
Barman has served in different private tea estates starting from Darjeeling to Dooars, Harrison Malayalam, Lakua tea estate of Assam, before joining the Tea Board of India.
With his experience of working in different states and coming across different indigenously-designed tea processing machines, Barman developed the model of this concept machine. The design was also developed from dryers designed by a small tea grower of the state, Rashik Debbarma.
The official of the Tea Board of India also informed that at present, there are 12 small tea growers and three big gardens that are producing organic tea in the state.
Rashik Debbarma, a small tea grower from West Tripura district said he joined hands with the Tea Board of India after getting support and assistance from them on how to process tea at home with cost-effective methods.
They helped him in attending a seminar in Dibrugarh, Assam earlier in January this year. During his visit to the event, he was trained on how to adopt a self-production process by setting up a small machine at his home.
“As soon as I returned from the event, I took the initiative. By spending about Rs 17,000, I made a dryer out of steel. At present, I have about 2.8 hectares of land where organic tea like orthodox and green teas are produced. This new low-cost machine would be very helpful for us,” Debbarma told EastMojo.
At present, Tripura has 58 operational tea gardens, of which 42 are individually owned, three are run by the Tripura Tea Development Corporation Ltd (TTDC) and 13 are operated under co-operative societies. Around 3,000 small tea growers also run their tea gardens with government support. Altogether 6,885 hectares of land are under tea cultivation in the state. According to estimates, Tripura produced 3.58 crore kg green tea leaves annually till last year.
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