Shimla : The Himachal Pradesh government has launched an ambitious plan to double tea production in the next five years in the hill state.
The state recorded 10,01,419 kg tea production in the last fiscal year and a target has been fixed to achieve tea production of around 20,00,000 kg by the next five years in the state said Agriculture Minister Virender Kanwar here today
At present tea is being cultivated in 2310.71 hectares of areas in the lower slopes of Dhauladhar mountains in Dharamsala, Shahpur, NagrotaBagwan, Palampur, Jaisinghpur, Baijnath and Jogindernagar.
CSK Agriculture University Palampur has planted 800 tea saplings in Krishi Vigyan Kendras,Research Stations at
Malan, Kangra, Bara, Berthin, Sundernagar, Bajaura and Dhaulakuan to access the scope of tea cultivation in
non-traditional areas of the state.
Orchard integration of tea is also being explored towards doubling farmers’ income and offsetting area loss.
The state govt will organise Tea festivals in important tourist places like Manali, and Shimla in the coming years to promote Kangra Tea among visiting tourists
The state govt organised a Tea Fair at Palampur for the first time in Dec 2021 in which around 400 tea growers participated.
An additional area of 5.6 hectares was also brought under fresh plantation during the year 2021-22 and a target has been fixed to bring additional 100 hectares area under commercial tea cultivation in the coming 5 years.
The tea industry has contributed around 20 crores to the economy of Himachal Pradesh. during the last financial year providing direct and indirect employment to around 5000 people in the Kanwar here today
Kangra tea is mostly exported to foreign countries through the dealers at Kolkatta. Only 10 per cent of the tea is being marketed within the state at present and 90 per cent goes to the Kokatta auction centre.
However around 4000 kg of Kangra tea was exported directly from Himachal to foreign countries like Germany, United Kingdom, Russia and France during the year 2021-22 and a target has been fixed to export 20 per cent of tea production to foreign countries directly from Himachal in coming years .
There are around 5900 tea farming families in the state and the average land holding of 95 per cent of tea growers is less than 0.5 hectares. There are 21 Big tea planters having an average land holding of more than 10 hectares while around 237 nos of tea planters have average land holding between 1 to 10 hectares .
The agriculture department has provided one lakh tea plants for infilling in existing gardens and for a fresh plantation for growers at the nominal rate of Rs 2 per plant for general farmers. Rs 1 per plant for SC farmers from its Tea Nursery at Palampur during the year 2020-21 and a target has been fixed to raise 1.5 lakh plants in Tea Nursery Palampur during the current financial year to bring more area under commercial plantation.
From the current year 50 per cent subsidy on tea machineries would be given to the tea planters which will resolve the labour problem which is the main issue hindering the tea cultivation said Kanwar.
The average sale price of Kangra Tea was Rs.160 kg at the Kokatta auction centre last year and Rs. 400 kg within Himachal Pradesh.