Suitable climate, soil and rainfall have prompted many farmers in Meghalaya, known as the Scotland of the East, to take up developing tea gardens and are reaping it rich from the proverbial ‘Two leaves-n-a-bud’ Their enterprising venture is bound to lend a fillip to the overall production of tea in the country and also give a boost to exports.
A majority of tea estate developers in Meghalaya have relied on organic modes, and this happens to be a distinctive feature of the tea from this abode in the clouds. Tea grown on purely organic modes does carry a different price tag.
A farmer named John set up his tea estate at Sohryngkham in Meghalaya in 1993, which is now looked upon by his daughter Shariti Syiem.
The tea grown by Syiem is known as the Sharawn tea. The black tea is sold at a premium price of Rs 500, while the green tea fetches around Rs 580 in the local market.
“This was first started by my father in 1993, he first started with 600 plants of T-378 variety and then he got the first stripping in 1995, which he sent for tasting. When he got a good report, that’s how we started the garden,” said Shariti Syiem, Owner of Sharawn Tea Estate.
Sharawn tea comes in different varieties and these are graded as AV2, T-78, B-668, TS-378, TS-379 and TS-449.
The Meghalaya Government on its part has encouraged the tea growers in the state by rendering financial aid under various schemes.
The Department of Agriculture and Horticulture provides financial assistance to the extent of Rs 15000 per hectare for developing tea gardens.
“We are giving financial assistance to the farmers. We have our scheme that is packet scheme for cultivation of tea plants and we are giving the subsidy for the farmers like for plant protection like PP chemicals and PP equipment, we are giving subsidy to them,” said M. Dkar, Development Officer, Agriculture and Horticulture Department, Meghalaya.