Assam CTC tea
Representative image Photo: Manaorganics

The Chairman of Tea Board of India Arun Kr. Ray stressed popularizing Assam Tea as it is world famous and it is not simply a drink made from some green leaves but a   healthy beverage for the human life.

Saying as it is one of the best drinks in the world it’s price should be made reasonable for the common people so that everybody can consume it.

He was speaking at the 34th Biennial General Meeting of the Tea Association of India, Assam Branch (TAIAB) which was held at Thakurbari Planters Club in Rangapara on Saturday.

The chairman of the National level Tea Board also mentioned that Assam continued to top the Indian Tea production table in the year 2017 and 2018. It contributed 675.17 MKgs in the year 2017 and 661.4 MKgs in 2018 up to November.

Indian tea exports till November 2018 suggests that the total exports should be in the region of 260 MKgs compared to 252 MKgs in 2017. The foreign revenue earning has also increased to Rs 4624.34 Crores from Rs 4478.24 Crores last year, which indicates a better price realization of exported Teas at Rs204.83/Kg compared to Rs198.12/Kg last year.

Highlighting graph of the production level the Tea Estates in the organized sector harvested 57% of the total output during 2017 and 58% in 2018 up to November. “Over the past decade, the industry has witnessed a dramatic dip in its fortunes with decreasing yield, increase in pest and disease infestations which have become more and more unmanageable.

One of the reasons of low land productivity is ageing tea bushes, high vacancies, and poor bush frame, which can be overcome by re-plantation and rejuvenation pruning & infilling.” He said adding if the industry has failed to keep pace with the required rate of re-plantation it is because of financial constraints.

 Regarding the challenges faced by the tea industries due to the climate changes he also mentioned that there is much talk of climate change in the recent times and tea industry is one of the worst sufferers of the climate change. Tea growth is sensitive to climatic conditions making it vulnerable to climate change and variability. Identifying the tea yield response to climatic variability in operational plantations, and identifying the most important climatic variables that impact tea yield is critical to assessing the vulnerability of the industry.

He said Labour Welfare Department of Assam has worked out a draft composite minimum wage of Rs.351.33/- per day for the plantation workers for both Brahmaputra and Barak valley. While several rounds of discussion are being held the Govt notified an interim increase of Rs.30/- per day per worker in the month of July 2018 with retrospective effect from 1st March 2018.

 Among others the event was attended by  Mudit Kumar, President Sri Raj Bansal Sr. Vice President,  Anshuman Prakash, Vice President,  Prabir Kr. Bhattacharjee, Secretary General Tea Association of India, Kolkata,  Jatindra Nath Baruah, Branch Secretary cum Labour Advisor, Tea Association of India, Assam Branch and  Prabhat Kamal Bezboruah, Chairman Tea Research Association & former Chairman Tea Board of India.

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