Kangra : Deputy Chairman of Tea Board India, Kolkata, Arun Kumar Ray, IPS visited CSIR-IHBT Palampur. He interacted with the scientists for strengthening the Kangra Tea Industry. Ray said that e-platform would be created for auctioning of Kangra tea so that it can be sold from Dharmshala without being transported to Kolkata to avoid transportation cost. For assessment of tea quality of the harvested tea, artificial intelligence approached would be used throughout the country so that the complaint of the growers and the factory management on accurated leaf grade could be addressed. He also asked the institute to assess the cold flavour quality of first flush tea which is gaining popularity in Darjeeling which is akin to Kangra conditions. He said that Tea Board has plan to promote Himachal Tea Brands through its GI which has been awarded due to the scientific data of CSIR-IHBT.
Tea experts from CSIR-IHBT asked the Deputy Director to support expansion of tea acreage in Himachal and Uttarakhand so that a critical mass of production is achieved to boost profitability of tea industry. Setting up tea nurseries of quality tea clones was also discussed and it was suggested that entrepreneurship would be promoted for raising tea nurseries of high yielding quality tea variestis. Besides Tea Agrotechnologies viz., tea farm mechanization, tea breeding, Shri Ray was apprised on research and development work related to value addition and diversified high value products developed from the secondary grades of tea viz., Tea Catechins, Theaflavins, Ready to serve teas, Tea wine etc. He was also shown the institute’s facilities on tea research. Currently Kangra tea production is hanging around 8-9 lakh kg and CSIR-IHBT has prepared road map to raise it to 15 lakh kilograms through revival of the existing plantations and further to 25 lakh kilograms through extension planting. Deputy Chairman appreciated the efforts of the institute for supporting tea industry and invited them to patriciate in the proposed tea exhibition to be held at Kolkata.
It is worth mentioning that tea is highly suitable crop under the current scenario of climate change and wild animal menace. A comprehensive integrated programme on tea mechanization coupled with setting up units for value added high demand antioxidant products is only solution to cope up labour shortage, boost profitability of tea growers and strengthening tea industry of Himachal Pradesh – Dr Sanjay Kumar, Director CSIR-IHBT.