Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Declare tea as national drink, provide MSP: TAIAB


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Guwahati, Jan 19: The Tea Association of India (TAI), Assam Branch has called for continuous innovation, aggressive marketing and the declaration of tea as the National Drink to facilitate better growth for the age-old industry while harping on demand for Minimum Support Price (MSP) for tea.

Addressing the 36th biennial general meeting of the TAIAB in Tezpur today, the chairman U K Singh underscored the need for collective efforts to ensure sustainability and growth of the tea industry which is still faced with challenges reminiscent of the dark period of 2002-2007.

“Despite commendable economic strides, the tea industry faces challenges reminiscent of the dark period of 2002-2007. Over the past 15 years, India’s tea production has witnessed a commendable increase of 39%, rising from 981 million kilograms in 2008 to 1366 million kilograms in 2022. During the same period, Assam has seen growth rates of 41% in their tea production. India’s tea exports until October 2023 amount to 182.69 million kilograms, reflecting a 2% decrease compared to the previous year. Despite accounting for 21% of global production, India’s share in global exports remains at 13%.

“Tea prices have remained relatively stagnant over the years, except for a notable surge in 2020, attributed to the upheavals caused by the pandemic. In 2023 North Indian Tea Prices stands at Rs. 187.0 vis-à-vis Rs. 202.00 a 7% decline,” the chairman of TAIAB said calling for  collaborative efforts to promote tea drinking for good  health.

The 36th Biennial General Meeting of the Tea Association of India, Assam Branch held was held today  at Hotel KRC Palace in Tezpur in the presence of Ruhul Amin, Assistant High Commissioner, Bangladesh  as the Chief Guest.

Dignitaries present on the dais included U.K. Singh, Chairman, TAI, Assam Branch, P.K. Bhattacharjee, Secretary General, TAI and D. Deka, Secretary, TAI, Assam Branch.

The presentation made of crucial industry data shed light on challenges in production, export, and pricing, prompting a collective focus on achieving demand-supply balance.

It highlighted challenges encompassed the demand-supply gap, market concentration, and declining tea quality. The necessity for short-term supply restrictions and long-term demand creation was underscored.

Proposals for early production closure and restrictions on subpar tea imports were advocated.

Additional challenges discussed in the conference included industry downturn, the impact of climate change, minimum wage issues, and the escalating costs of food grains.

Solutions such as precision agriculture and technology adoption were proposed. A fervent appeal for the establishment of a Minimum Support Price for tea was made to alleviate economic hardships faced by growers.

Indo-Bangladesh trade challenges were also deliberated, with a suggestion for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. Recommendations for reforms in the Plantation Labour Act emphasized workforce governance and non-cash benefits.

Concerns about healthcare challenges, including doctors’ shortages and infant mortality in tea estates, were emphasized. Acknowledgment was extended for social responsibility initiatives by TAI, collaborations with NGOs and government welfare schemes for tea workers.

Appreciation was expressed for government initiatives, including the Assam Tea Industries Special Incentives Scheme. The vital roles played by the Tea Board, TRA, GTAC, and law enforcement in supporting the industry were duly recognized in the conference.






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