Tea Industry of India
TEA INDUSTRY OF INDIA
Consultative Committee of Plantation Associations (CCPA) will soon prepare a revival plan for the tea industry whose health has been failing, affecting the workers.
Tea is the oldest and the most widely consumed and the lowest cost beverage in the world after water. It is considered to be one of the major components of world beverage market which provides more than 2,000 different types of tea for consumption.
In this domain the global tea industry is largely dominated by India, the second largest producer and one of the largest consumers of tea. India is succeeded China and followed by Kenya Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Indonesia in the production hierarchy of countries.
Tea cultivation is not done everywhere and anywhere. Its cultivation is restricted to certain specific regions in the world due to specific requirements of climate and soil that suit its cultivation. Among the major tea producing countries that are located in the continent of Asia are China, India, Sri Lanka are the major producers.
Tea in India is grown primarily in the domains of Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Apart from these major regions, tea is also grown in little quantities in Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Tripura, Uttaranchal, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Sikkim and Meghalaya.
Importance of tea industry
Indian tea industry is agro-based and therefore, labour intensive as it provides direct employment to over 1 million persons.
Its forward and backward linkages cater employment to additional 10 million persons who derive their bread and butter from tea.
Northeast India region of the tea industry provides employment to around 9,00,000 persons on permanent basis. Further, it accommodates the illiterate women as laborers for the primary functions. Hence, it becomes one of the largest employers of women amongst organized industries in India.
Women, thus, constitute nearly 51% of the total workforce in tea industry. As the tea estates in the North Eastern India are located in industrially backward areas, tea industry becomes a major source of income for the population residing around such estates.
Problems facing tea industry
India, the world’s second largest tea producer, is facing sustainability challenges in four areas
- agricultural issues,
- quality and safety
- rising production costs
- social issues
- Excessive use of Pesticides
- Climate change and weak monsoon
- Sustainalbility issues
- River siltation and water drainage problems
- Labour strikes and Labour shortage
- competition with China, Sri Lanka and Kenya
- Increased domestic demand decreasing exports.
- Power problems- Hardly 20-30 per cent of requirement is met through grid power. Dependence on diesel generators to source majority of our energy requirement is proving costly.
- Out-growers (small tea farmers) were once a peripheral issue. Today they are the only vehicle to increase plantation acreages and, large producers, like McLeod, are devising models to integrate them in production plan.
- Diversification of Tea production area in context of climate change
- Implementation of Plant Protection code
- A proper time period should be fixed, after which the bushes should be planted anew, so as to maintain the quality of the tea leaves.
Prospects for the industry:
- Venturing into new markets like China, Kazakhstan etc.
- Drip irrigation cooperation with Israel.
- Favourable export condition and domestic market promotion can also benefit the industry
- ImprovedFood processing, supply chain and storage management will enhance shelf life
- Improvement in irrigation and power availability.
- New variants of tea are finding increasing space in market, such as yellow tea, green tea. With expansion in capacity these demands can easily be met with Indian tea industry
- Need to ppromote the health benefits of Tea like high Antioxidants in them.