Board stress on quality, branding of Assam tea

GUWAHATI: Tea Board of India deputy chairman, Arun Kumar Ray underlined adherence to quality, branding and digital marketing as the way forward for the tea industry of the country.

Speaking at the 19th biennial general meeting of North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) in Golaghat on Wednesday, Ray said, “We only have to find ways to see that additional tea produced is consumed, either internally or exported. For that, the only way out is quality.”

In regard to marketing, he cited Sri Lanka’s example, while admitting that that unless Indian tea has a presence in the international market, it would be difficult to fight the island nation’s tea marketing blitz.

“We don’t have the budget today to fight the Sri Lankan marketing blitz unless we have a presence in the international market. Sri Lanka spends about Rs 350 crore in marketing its tea,” Ray said.

The Tea Board deputy chairman also stressed the need for branding teas and to move to a digital platform.

“A brand is a product where you put your own name on that and you are proud of your product and that is what will allow the quality to come,” he said.

“Today the world is digital and we have to move to a digital platform and for that I understand the new system that would come up in Jorhat will be the game changer. The technological initiative of Chai Sahyog, which allows the factory to know from where and which small farmer the tea has been sourced, coupled with the new action platform coming up in Jorhat, will take Assam tea forward,” Ray said.

NETA chairman, Nepul Saikia said Assam has a good scope of exporting tea to the South East Asian nations and BIMSTEC (Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan) countries.

“The Assam government should also note that compared to other industries of Assam, tea is a ‘ready industry’ for exporting its produce to East and South East Asian nations and therefore the state department of Act East Policy along with the Tea Board should handhold the Assam tea industry and make a proper roadmap for exporting tea,” Saikia said.

“We appeal to the central government to provide sufficient funds for generic promotion of tea in the domestic market. If we can increase the per capita consumption of tea in India by another 70 grams, then 50 per cent of the challenges faced by the Indian tea industry will be over,” he said.

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