SPECIAL PURPOSE TEA FUND ON THE ANVIL TO REVIVE TEA INDUSTRY: KAMAL NATH
Date : 28 Oct 2005
Location : New Delhi
Shri Kamal Nath, Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, has today said that the government is considering the setting up of a Special Purpose Tea Fund to revive the Indian tea industry through a massive programme of rejuvenation and replantation. Inaugurating the 40th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Tea Association of India in Kolkata, the Minister said: “As a medium and long-term measure, a major stepping up of the rate of replantation and rejuvenation holds the key to competitiveness of the Indian tea industry, given the high age profile of tea bushes throughout the country. Over 2 lakh hectares which fall in the vulnerable category of low yielding areas is to be targeted for replantation and rejuvenation. The detailed costing and modalities of funding such a large programme are being worked out”.
Dwelling on the problems facing the tea industry, Shri Kamal Nath noted that the industry in India have been passing through a crisis for the last several years on account of consistent depression in prices in both the domestic and international markets, a situation that was further compounded by rising cost of production, low productivity due to old age of tea bushes and sluggish growth in domestic demand for tea.
Outlining various measures taken by the government through the Tea Board to help the tea industry, Shri Kamal Nath emphasised that quality and quality alone could make Indian tea competitive and sought after, given that supply of tea at the global level exceeded the demand.
“Clearly the days of unbridled expansion and increase of production of lesser quality teas are over. For many years, under-investment and too much focus on increasing quantity has undermined the profitability of many producers. The tea industry needs to respond to this situation with more vigour and imagination, and above all needs to get closer to the consumers to survive”, the Minister said.
He welcomed the recent trend of acquisitions of international tea brands by Indian tea companies and said: “The world’s largest tea producer has to ultimately strive to be the source of the largest and best tea brands in the world”.