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Panel for study on decline in tea output
AJIT PATOWARY
 GUWAHATI, Aug 23 – The Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce in its 102nd report on the performance of plantation sector – tea and coffee industry, has suggested that the Union Department of Commerce should analyse the reasons behind the continuous decrease in the country’s tea production and to redeem the situation.

Since export is dependent on production, the Committee recommends the Department to take necessary measures to increase tea production in the country with emphasis on quality. Moreover, as orthodox tea fetches more earnings in the global market, it will be in the fitness of thing that production of orthodox tea should be increased in the country, the Committee says.

It has noticed that tea production in the country has gone down continually since the year 2007. In the year 2011, the country with a production of 988.33 million kgs (provisional) has just surpassed its production level of 2007 with 2 million kgs more to 2007 production figure, said the Committee in its report to the Parliament tabled on August 9.

It has said that it is of the considered view that such a scenario calls for the necessity to carry out replantation or rejuvenation of the old or senile tea bushes on priority.

The Committee feels that the Department has to become innovative in its approach towards raising the production of tea since there is strong demand of Indian tea overseas and the supply side is also under further pressure due to rising domestic consumption which has also started witnessing demand for premium quality tea.

There is the need to increase tea cultivation area, treat old or senile bushes with appropriate interventions, undertake

research to enhance productivity with maintenance of quality, provide effective extension services along with maintenance of soil health and organise the production on professional lines.

The Committee has also said that had the Department and the Tea Board made concerted efforts towards scientific development of the tea sector in non-traditional areas and had also tried to organise the small growers through self help groups or cooperatives and given necessary assistance, the production as well as productivity of tea would have increased susbstantially.

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