Assam tea gardens are all set to go hi-tech.
Now robots will be engaged in plucking the leaves.
Even drones will be pressed into service to spray hazardous pesticides.
According to a report in The Hindu, the country’s oldest tea company has begun the process of deploying artificial intelligence (AI) to help take the industry to a sustainable future.
The Assam Company India Limited (ACIL) has been depending on manual labour for the last 180 years.
Now robotic drones will be engaged in precision treatment of a diseased tea bush and implanting molecular markers in leaves to develop traits for mass production, the report stated.
However, there are challenges in replicating the AI, deployed in farming in developed nations, for use in the tea sector, industry officials asserted.
Tea Board chairman Prabhat Bezbaruah is hoping technology would help add value to the tea industry that is currently going through a ‘bad patch’ because of falling prices, rising cost of production and aged tea bushes.
ACIL has since made a comeback of sorts with the handmade golden tea from its Maijan Tea Estate fetching a record Rs 70,501 per kilogram at the auction in August.