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Boosting India’s Tea Sector: 82% Increase in Financial Assistance Under ‘Tea Development & Promotion Scheme’

New Delhi: In a significant move to fortify the tea sector, the financial assistance provided under the ‘Tea Development & Promotion Scheme’ has witnessed an impressive 82% surge, soaring from Rs. 290.81 crores to Rs. 528.97 crores for the upcoming two financial years (2024-25 and 2025-26).

The enhanced financial support is geared towards empowering small tea growers through a slew of incentives, primarily by bringing them together into Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs). The plan includes the establishment of 800 SHGs and 330 FPOs in the next two financial years, marking a significant increase from the previous plan of 40 SHGs and 8 FPOs. The assistance is set to cover more than 30,000 small tea growers, a substantial rise from the earlier coverage of 1000 growers. The objective is to elevate productivity, enhance quality, encourage greater value addition, and consequently, boost price realization for small tea growers.

Financial assistance and support are directed towards common facilities like field mechanization equipment, leaf carriage vehicles, leaf sheds, pruning machines, mechanical harvesters, and storage godowns. Moreover, assistance is extended to set up new mini tea units by SHGs/FPO/FPCs, focusing on the production of Orthodox, Green, and Specialty teas, fostering the growth of small tea growers up the value chain. Support is also allocated for soil testing, capacity building, and skill enhancement through Farm Field schools for small tea growers, emphasizing good agricultural practices and effective tea garden management.

A substantial increase in outlay has been designated for promoting Indian tea in both domestic and international markets. The outlays have skyrocketed by more than 10 times, reaching Rs. 72.42 crores, to execute extensive promotional campaigns for ‘Indian Tea,’ including Darjeeling and other Geographical Indication (GI) teas. The aim is to elevate exports and heighten awareness and consumption of safe and quality tea among domestic consumers.

In a move to stimulate exports of value-added tea, a new sub-component has been introduced to encourage the establishment of blending and packaging units, with an outlay of Rs. 40 Crore. Additionally, a new sub-component for research on blends and value-added products in international markets has been incorporated to enhance and diversify exports.

A separate sub-component of Quality Assurance has been introduced with an outlay of Rs. 39.9 Crore, including funds for the setup and upgradation of tea testing laboratories. The scheme envisions increased drawing and testing of tea samples, accompanied by awareness campaigns to enhance consumer awareness regarding the quality of tea in domestic markets.

A novel component of Technological Intervention for Tea Plantation has been included, encompassing activities such as precision farming, drone surveillance, traceability, blockchain, and digitization of the Tea Board.

The scheme also provides fresh financial support for uprooting old and unproductive tea bushes, initiating replantation in approximately 1000 hectares of area, and linking it to an incremental increase in the production of higher quality tea, including orthodox tea, assessed through a transparent methodology.

Continuing its commitment to the welfare of workers in the tea sector, the Tea Board will carry out supplementary welfare programs, health awareness camps, educational stipends for the wards of tea garden workers, and capacity-building programs, including technical workshops and training on good agricultural practices.

The substantial increase in financial assistance underscores the government’s dedication to revitalizing the tea sector, promoting growth, and ensuring the well-being of stakeholders in the industry.

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