The Telegraph
Sunday , March 9 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

Crusade for organic tea

Jorhat, March 8: A small tea grower in Upper Assam’s Dibrugarh district has launched a crusade to convince small tea growers to take up production of natural tea — which has great demand in the international market — after tasting success by exporting 800kg of organic tea to Canada last year.

“Already seven small tea growers have taken up production of organic tea after I showed them the opportunity to make a good profit by exporting tea abroad. I am trying to convince more planters to do the same,” Dhiren Phukan, the owner of 13-bigha Senehi tea estate at Rajgarh in Dibrugarh district told The Telegraph.

Phukan said he has been training small tea growers in natural tea production and a few growers from Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh have visited him in this regard recently.

Success came Phukan’s way when he participated in the India International Trade Fair in Delhi a few years ago. He sold nearly 250kg natural tea. “I got a good price for my teas and also received queries from various agencies. Subsequently I received an order from Level Ground Trading in Canada to supply tea,” he said. Level Ground Trading deals in agricultural produce, including tea and coffee, with small producers from various parts of the world.

Phukan said this year, too, he would be supplying about 1,000kg of tea to Canada. His estate produces about 2,000kg of tea annually. He also sells green leaf from his garden to bought leaf factories.

“Apart from exporting tea to Canada, tea from my garden is also in good demand in the state. I sell tea to various agencies in the state and in New Delhi and Bangalore,” he said.

Although Phukan started his tea estate in 1989, he has taken to organic production only in 2000.

Karuna Mahanta, the general secretary of the All Assam Small Tea Growers’ Association, of which Phukan is a member, said only a handful of members of the association have taken to organic tea farming. “We are trying to convince our members to take up organic tea cultivation as it has great demand both in the country and abroad,” he said.