Winter rains cheer up Kangra tea growers : The Tribune India

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Winter rains cheer up Kangra tea growers

Winter rains cheer up Kangra tea growers

A panoramic view of lush green tea gardens in Kangra district. Tribune file



Ravinder Sood

Palampur, March 16

The rainfall in the month of February and March have proved a boon for tea crop in Kangra district. The tea crop in the region had been badly affected by drought-like conditions in the months of December and January. However, rains in February and March have proved to be a blessing. These have covered about 80 per cent of crops which had been damaged due to the drought-like conditions.

The plucking of tea is likely to begin in the Kangra region by the end of this month. After the rains, the farmers are delaying plucking for a few days as new tea buds are likely to sprout due to the rainy weather. Most of the tea growers feel that due to heavy rains in March, the tea yield in Kangra would recover and fetch better prices in the market.

Expecting higher returns

  • Rains in February and March have proved to be a blessing. These have covered about 80 per cent of crops which had been damaged due to the drought-like conditions
  • After the rains, the farmers are delaying plucking for a few days as new tea buds are likely to sprout due to the rainy weather
  • Though Kangra tea got the Geographical Indicator in the year 2005, the European Union had recognised it in 2023
  • Kangra tea farmers are expecting that their produce would fetch better prices in the European and other international markets after the recognition of its GI

In 2023, the European Union had recognised the Geographical Indicator (GI) for Kangra tea. Though Kangra tea got the GI in the year 2005, it was recognised by the European Union’s Agriculture Department only a year ago. Kangra tea farmers are expecting that their produce would fetch better prices in the European and other international markets after the recognition of its GI.

Even though the government has banned the transfer of land for tea gardens for any other purpose, the area under tea plantations in the valley has been decreasing every year. At present, tea was being grown in about 800 hectares of land in Kangra. At one point of time, the total area under tea plantations in Kangra was about 1,800 hectares. Successive governments have neglected the Kangra tea industry which was once a major source of employment.

Though the Government of India and the Tea Board had announced various schemes for the revival of the abandoned tea gardens in the valley, the projects failed to take off because of poor results. At present, only a few big holdings have been left in the valley, which are growing tea, while small and medium tea gardens have vanished in the past 20 years because of high cost of production, shortage of labour and lack of technical and financial support from the state and the Centre. The old tea bushes received no assistance from the governments for their rejuvenation.

#Kangra #Palampur


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