Tripura, an Indian state bordering Bangladesh, boasts a century of tea rising that’s usually neglected. Now the three,000 small growers there hope to extend their visibility and fortunes with official recognition as a tea producing area, which features a model identify and seal issued by the Tea Board of India. The Tripura Tea Development Corporation (TTDC) additionally intends to arrange two public sale facilities within the state.
There are 54 tea estates and 21 tea processing factories in Tripura. Thirteen estates are run by cooperatives. Tripura is the fifth largest tea producing state in India producing 9 million kilograms yearly. Teas from the Narendrapur and Mekhlipara tea gardens in West Tripura are bought to huge manufacturers like Goodwyn tea.
Tea Board of India assistant director (tea improvement) Diganta Barman advised The Telegraph in Calcutta that small tea growers in Mizoram have efficiently demonstrated a profitable enterprise mannequin in creating Mizo Tea.
“They are doing good business in West Tripura, South Tripura and Dhalai districts,” Barman mentioned. Two growers in Mohanpur already qualify for natural certification, an vital step in selling teas for export.
Tripura is an agrarian state, depending on agriculture. The terrain is hilly and forested. Only 27 p.c of the land may be cultivated, most of which is planted in lowland rice paddies within the alluvial plain. Barman mentioned tea was first planted in 1916 on the Hiracherra tea property in current day Unakoti district. “There were many efforts to turn the industry a profit-making sector, but even after hundred years there is no export of tea from Tripura,” he mentioned.
“The tea industry in Tripura is better than many other states of the country. However, tea from the state was not brand positioned properly in all these years. Marketing is very important in business and we are hoping to develop the Tripura Tea logo shortly,” Barman advised The Telegraph.
Barman defined “there are several processes before a logo is declared. These involve testing of variety, quality, yield rate of tea, chemical and physical testing, collecting samples from different flush varieties among others.”
“The process is in progress,” mentioned Barman, who famous that Tripura tea is inconsistent as a consequence of rare pluck and a low charge of replanting because the starting of this industry. Aged bushes are much less productive.
There are additionally issues that a lot of the tea processed on the Indian aspect of the Bangladesh border is smuggled into that nation the place it’s bought as Assam or Darjeeling tea. Export duties are below overview. A delegation of the Indian chamber of Commerce met Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and appealed for lowering the export obligation on tea exported from Tripura.
Tripura will profit from a brand, a model and a correct commerce technique, in response to TTDC officers.
TTDC chairperson Santosh Saha mentioned, “we have approval to use the brand name Tripureshwari Tea and intend to market 100-gram and 50-gram packets for export.”
The identify Tripureshwari refers to goddess Tripura Sundari, the deity of the state’s former rulers, the Manikya kings. The deity is worshipped at Tripura Sundari Temple in Udaipur of Gomati district, which is taken into account one of many 51 Hindu Shaktipeeths of the nation, he mentioned.
Anirban Majumder, senior supervisor on the Manuvalley Tea Estate in Unakoti, estimates an export market of 20 million kilograms in Bangladesh, a tea consuming nation that produces little or no tea. Tea exported from Tripura to Bangladesh may get a greater worth than tea bought to Indian brokers.
Saha advised NDTV that an public sale heart in Tripura “will scale back the dependence on public sale centres of Guwahati and Calcutta. We additionally suggest to promote our tea on the Srimangal public sale in Bangladesh. The public sale is positioned 5 kilometers from the foremost tea producers in Unakoti. Approval by the governments of India and Bangladesh will lower price and provides us a possible new market, he mentioned.
TTDC additionally proposed cultivating the 100-yard vast buffer between the fencing and the precise Indo-Bangladesh border to spice up the industry, mentioned Saha. Many tea estates and household farms have been divided when the border fence between the international locations was erected. Established protocols typically prohibit cultivation within the buffer however the Indira-Mujib pact of 1971 permits some farmers to work their present land between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. Expanding plantings would profit each international locations however “the nod of the ministry of home affairs would be required for the project,” he mentioned. We shall provoke dialogue with the ministry.”
The Tea Board encourages natural cultivation, in response to Barman. Tripura has good soil and favorable rainfall. Organic tea from the area sells for INRs8000 ($110) in comparison with the INRs400 ($5.50) per kilogram common. Fatikcherra tea property in Sidhai Mohanpur of West Tripura district was the primary Tripura backyard to be licensed natural. Ludhua Cooperative Tea Estate in South Tripura district produced 125,000 kilograms of natural black tea and 10,000 kilograms of natural inexperienced this 12 months. Two small holders, Gopal Chakraborty and Kalyan Debbarma of Mohanpur, have additionally fulfilled the standards of the National Programme for Organic Production Standards. Teas from these gardens are designated “under conversion” for 3 years and can then be licensed.
Barman mentioned the brand is anticipated to be prepared in subsequent couple of months.