Enhance the aroma of tea to make the sector viable, says Piyush Goyal

Roopak Goswami

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Enhance the aroma of the tea to make the sector viable, says Piyush Goyal.

Enhance the "Aroma" of tea to make the sector profitable, viable and sustainable, says Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal.

•Assistance( A): Support small growers to improve quality with sustainability, Increase production to meet domestic and international demand.

• Re-energise( R): Create infrastructure to augment exports and focus on high-value markets such as the EU, Canada, South America & Middle East.

• Organic(O: Promote organic and GI tea through brand promotion and marketing.

• Modernisation(M): To enable tea farmers to become self-reliant and strengthen local supply chains.

• Adaptability(A): Focus on the importance of a risk-proof ecosystem, that is, the need for sustainable solutions to make tea plantations meet the challenges of climate change

The minister said this while addressing the Indian Tea Association’s (ITA) International Small Tea Grower's Convention today in Calcutta

The Minister quipped that the path to heaven passed through a teapot and said that the path to a developed & Aatmanirbhar Bharat passed through the grounds of every tea plantation in the country today and aid that small tea growers will have the biggest role to play in shaping the future of tea sector in India.

The smallholder tea segment currently shares more than 50% of the total production and is a vital source of green leaves for many estate factories manufacturing out-of-bought leaves.

The Minister appreciated the ITA for having played an instrumental role in the development of the tea industry, since its inception in 1881, 141 years ago. He also applauded the ITA and Solidaridad Asia for their efforts to strengthen the small tea growers for ensuring safe sources of supply to the factories and to boost exports.

Goyal noted that tea is an integral part of Indian heritage. He said that Chai is not just tea made in Indian style - it essentially is India in a teacup. “Chai is not just a beverage for Indians, it is an emotion, a symbol of unity and friendship. Serving tea has become a mark of respect and a crucial part of the Atithi Devo Bhava culture of India”, he added.

Goyal noted that the Indian tea Industry is the 2nd largest in the world. He spoke of the Darjeeling Tea, also known as "Champagne of teas," worldwide because of its flowery scent and Assam tea, a symbol of India’s global recognition.

The Minister stressed that the tea sector had played a pivotal role in the employment generation in the country. “Not just the growers, producers and exporters, but also various startups and business models have emerged solely based on tea", he said.

Goyal said that the government as an enabler has taken various steps to support our site for all tea growers, such as implementation of online licensing systems, auto-renewal of 3 types of licenses i.e. exporter license, tea waste license and tea warehouse license etc. He said that Darjeeling Tea was the first GI Tag product, now 2 other variants of it Green & White also the old GI Tags. Development of Chai Sahyog mobile app is another landmark of the Indian tea ecosystem, he added.

The Minister noted that Indian tea growers are now spreading the aroma, the taste and colour of India tea to the world. He said that the world has already tasted and appreciated the flavour of Sikkim, Nilgiris, Kangra & Assam teas and expressed hope that other varieties of tea would also open the world's mind and palate to more flavours of India.

The minister said that One District and One Product (ODOP) scheme will give the impetus to spread the glory of Indian Tea.

At the small tea growers convention, associations small tea growers association in Assam, West Bengal and South India presented their views on various issues they are facing while making over 50 per cent of tea. In another session, the corporate sector including buyers shared their experience in buying leaves from small tea growers and marketing the made tea. The speakers said customers' requirements are the prime objective keeping in mind stringent quality aspects.

Delegates from Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Nepal attended the conference under the aegis of Asia Alliance.

The forum of Asia Tea Alliance comprising letter-producing bodies from tea producing countries viz. ITA, Tea Board of Sri Lanka, China Tea Marketing Association, Indonesian Tea Marketing Association and Central Tea Association of Japan was set up in 2019 and facilitated by Solidaridad Asia with multiple objectives of strengthening mutually beneficial ties by way of sharing of Information, trade promotion for boosting tea consumption, enhancing technology exchange etc.

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Roopak Goswami