Tea Board chairman Basudeb Banerjee said that the industry would have to increase its funding for research activities being carried out by organisations such as Tea Research Association (TRA). Addressing the 45th annual meeting of the TRA, he said that within the next five years, more funds would have to come from the industry and the industry will have to work-out business models towards this. “Industry-led research activities cannot be sustainable with only government support”. He later told reporters that, at present, 70 per cent of the funding was from the government through the Tea Board while the industry pitched in with the balance. TRA Chairman C. S. Bedi said that the industry had an outstanding of Rs. 5.36 crore to TRA and services had been withdrawn from many defaulters. Mr. Banerjee said many members were making their own arrangements for R & D which he felt, was an unhealthy practice.
Mr. Bedi said space had been identified for setting up a residue testing lab adjacent to the TRA office here. Mr. Banerjee said the Rs. 1-crore project in the XI Plan would be the first such testing laboratory in this region.
At present, most of the testing for residues (maximum residue levels) was done in Hyderabad. He said the residue level issue threatened to adversely affect trade with EU and other countries and TRA scientists had been asked to look into the issue.