CHIKMAGALUR: Rajkumar Wilson, manager of Goomankhan Estate, a major tea producer in Chikmagalur district, said here on Thursday that tea plantations in South India were considering mechanisation of harvesting owing to shortage of workers.

Addressing presspersons, Mr. Wilson said several tea producing countries and Assam had introduced mechanisation, but the terrain in South India was not conducive to use machines. Shearing of tealeaf would reduce its quality, he added.

He said the tea industry was planning to introduce beverages such as iced tea and lime tea to popularise tea drinking in the country.

With regard to the crisis being faced by the industry, he said the situation was better than previous years with the slight increase in tea prices this year. Goomankhan Estate and Kelagur Estate in the district received the Golden Leaf India Award for producing quality tea at the third edition of the competition in Kochi on March 22.

Peter Mathias, managing partner of Kelagur Estate, and Jeffry Rebello, president of the Karnataka Planters' Association, were present.

Vijay Karnad, secretary of KPA, welcomed the gathering.