By R. Subrata (TNI) | TNI Editing Siliguri
Webdesk, TNI Guwahati, 26th August, 2016: North East Tea Conclave & Expo 2016 was organized today at Guwahati today. Mr. Chandra Mohan Patowary, the Assam Minister for Industries & Commerce, called upon small tea growers to form self-help groups (SHG) for a robust tea industry in the region. Addressing the North East Tea Conclave & Expo 2016 organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in association with the Tea Board of India and the Directorate of Tea Government of Assam, Mr. Patowary said this benefit both the small tea growers and the tea industry as a whole, which is a source of livelihood for many people in state.
As per official figures, Assam is home to about 79,000 small tea growers. However, unofficial figures put the number at a lakh. The Minister also disclosed that Tea Park with warehouse facilities and railway connectivity is coming up near the airport. The new government is committed to building a strong infrastructure to facilitate new industries set up in the state, Mr. Patowary said, adding that the Government is working hard to ensure that more flights operate out of Guwahati Airport. Mr. Abhijit Barooah, Co-Chairman, CII North East Council said North East Tea Conclave & Expo 2016 is a forum designed to take local stakeholders on board and discuss how the tea Industry in the region can grow stronger and could be a source of sustenance for more people. CII also looks to work in tandem with the Tea Board of India, Directorate of Tea, Government of Assam, and also all the Tea Sector Associations to build a futuristic roadmap. Mr. Bidyananda Barkakoty, Convener NE Tea Conclave & Expo 2016 & Vice Chairman, Tea Board of India, said Assam contributes over 50% of the tea produced in the country. According to him, concerted efforts must be made towards popularising Assam Speciality Tea. “Aggressive marketing and brand building are the need of the hour, Mr. Barkakoty said. The conclave identified the best global models and practices, ways to strengthen market linkages and prepare strategies for a robust tea industry in the North East in terms of productivity, marketing and sustainability.
Not only did the Conclave discuss key policy interventions, it also sought to find ways to improve quality, add value in terms of production, packaging, price realisation and innovations, especially for speciality teas, and discussed key challenges of right wages to workers, global warming, and consumers’ opting other beverages. The Conclave also sought to ensure smart and quality production, marketability in the supply chain, forge stronger synergies between bought leaf factories and small tea growers. The daylong North East Tea Conclave & Expo 2016, was supported by Assam Tea Planters Association, All Assam Bought leaf Factory association, Bharatiya Chai Parishad, Federation of All India Tea Traders Association, Guwahati Tea Auction Buyers Association, Guwahati Tea Brokers Joint, Guwahati Tea Warehousing Association, Indian Tea Association, North East Tea Association and Small Tea Growers Association, will include a Tea Tasting Session, Buyer-Seller Meet and a Tea Exhibition.
Photos: CII Siliguri