TEA CULTIVATION

Mr Bharat Sharma, M. Sc (Ag),Senior tea planter holding the Secretarial post of BVS will now expertise the tea sector including small tea segment regularly. He will up date the emerging issues of tea time to time. He is briefing the “SURVIVAL STRATEGY TO SUSTAIN VIABILITY OF TEA ESTATES IN TERAI/DOOARS AND DARJEELING HILLS”

NOTES ON SURVIVAL STRATEGY TO SUSTAIN VIABILITY OF TEA ESTATES IN TERAI/DOOARS AND DARJEELING HILLS

Presently Tea gardens are passing through an acute crisis and facing many problems to sustain their viability for the survival. To bring it economically viable the following constraints need to be addressed  and resolved.

Cost of production and price realization – with the increasing wages from Rs 132.50 to Rs 176 a day and the next Minimum Wages is expected to be implemented ,if so , cost of production further increases but the price realization per kg tea  made is not satisfactory, sometimes even  below the cost of production. Therefore, it has become mandatory to increase the crop production maintaining desirable quality.

  • Introduction of mechanization in the plantation sector as well as in the processing factory has become necessary to encounter the challenges of manpower shortage due to high percentage of absenteeism due to migration of skill and productive workers towards other sectors to avail better earning scope. The only workers left are unproductive/physically unfit and weak and are not able to fulfill the existing task and becomes liability to the Management. The workers productivity cannot be achieved to a desirable level and hence the productivity of the garden comes in question. Similarly the sections having high percentage of vacancy needs to prepare for either Uprooting/Replanting or Block infilling after corrective pruning during cold weather season.
  • Tea Board can be approached to avail the facilities of subsidy under various schemes to revive the plantations and factory up gradation program to bring improvements in quality and good crop.
  • Workers productivity is directly proportional to the gardens productivity which can be achieved by proper supervision and monitoring the judicious use of agro-inputs and resources to avoid wastage which also contributes to the cost of production.
  • Introduction of mechanization over the conventional type of production and processing is a need of today’s business to be competent in the global market .Old and having low output machineries should be replaced by a new economic type. With the increasing cost of coal/fuel, HSD and power supply the cost of production increases, a judicious use of these resources is a must.
  • Tea Board’s grant under SPTF scheme as a financial help to revive the property are as follows :-
  1. HRP followed by infilling RS 112496.00 per hectare.
  2. Uprooting/Replanting RS 425804.00 per hectare.
  3. Replacement planting RS 425804.00 per hectare.
  4. Irrigation Equipment 25% of the actual cost or Rs 10000.00 per hectare.
  5. Harvesting machine, Color sorting machine etc. 25 % of the actual cost.
  6. Subsidy on Green Tea and Orthodox Tea @ Rs 3 per kg production.

Besides above there are schemes and the facilities provided by the Tea Board of India for the promotion and the up gradation of the small growers to boost up their production.

Total numbers of permanent  workers engaged in tea gardens in North Bengal

Permanent workers = 218968

Temporary workers = 67440

Casual workers =  25000

Garden valuation on the basis of production

Terai Gardens @ Rs 180 to 200 per kg  tea made

Dooars gardens @ Rs 200 to 220 per kg tea made

Darjeeling gardens @ Rs 1300 to 1500 per kg tea made

Further , the highlights  on the burning issues and its survival strategy  of the small tea growers will be presented in my next notes.

 

BHARAT SHARMA

Tea Consultant and secretary

Borlaug Vision Society

Cell Phone No 7319570548