Board mulls logo, brand for Tripura tea

Tripura's tea is poised to make a mark in national and global markets as the Tea Board of India is planning a logo and brand for the brew from the state.

By Debraj Deb in Agartala
  • Published 25.06.18
Mohanpur tea estate. Picture by Pranab Shil

Agartala: Tripura's tea is poised to make a mark in national and global markets as the Tea Board of India is planning a logo and brand for the brew from the state.

Tea Board of India's assistant director (tea development), Diganta Barman, said tea industry started in Tripura at Hiracherra tea estate in present day Unakoti district in 1916. "There were many efforts to turn the industry a profit-making sector, but even after hundred years there is no export of tea from Tripura," he said.

Barman added that tea produced in Tripura is being sold under big brands such as Goodwyn. Tea gardens in Narendrapur and Mekhlipara in West Tripura district are registered under Goodwyn. "But there is not enough focus and it needs to be changed," he said.

"There are several processes before a logo is declared. These involve testing of variety, quality, yield rate of tea, chemical and physical testing, collecting samples from different flush varieties among others. The process is in progress. Besides, there is low consistency of Tripura's tea as frequency of plucking is low and there is low replantation since the beginning of this industry," Barman said.

A senior official of the Tripura Tea Development Corporation, who did not wish to be named, said huge amount of processed tea from Tripura is smuggled through the border and sold as Assam tea or Darjeeling tea in markets. He said Tripura's tea can do better with a logo, a brand and proper trade strategy.

In a recent meeting with director of industries and commerce department, senior manager of Manuvalley tea estate in Unakoti district, Anirban Majumder, said there is a gap of 20 million kg tea between production and consumption of tea in Bangladesh. He suggested to export tea from Tripura to Bangladesh for better price. The Tea Board has mounted efforts for promoting organic tea from Tripura. As part of it, Fatikcherra tea estate in Sidhai Mohanpur of West Tripura district has already been announced the first organic tea estate. Ludhua tea estate in South Tripura district has also cleared all tests for the organic tag.

Gopal Chakraborty and Kalyan Debbarma of Mohanpur - two small tea-growers - have also got the "organic tea" tag for their produce.

Chakraborty, 55, has already got the "scope certificate" after fulfilling all the criteria of the National Programme for Organic Production Standards. It means that his tea will be treated "under conversion" to organic tea for the next three years. After that it will be branded "complete organic tea".

"I am getting fine results. Production is a little less than conventional tea production, but the pricing compensates," he said.

Barman said the logo is expected to be ready in next couple of months.

The issue is likely to be discussed at a meeting of the Tea Board in Guwahati, starting from Tuesday.