SHIMLA: Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma on Sunday announced that the Tea Board of India would take up rehabilitation of nearly 10,000 hectares of tea plantation in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. He also announced a 250 acre organic tea project and setting up of a Spice Park at Naduan in Hamirpur district.
“A joint team of Tea Development Board, Vice-Chancellor of Himachal Pradesh Agriculture University, Palampur, and Director, Institute of Himalayan Bio-Resource Technology visited the tea growing areas of Himachal in December, 2009, to assess the potential and submit proposals for revival of the tea industry in the State. They have come up with some concrete proposals and we have decided to implement them in letter and spirit which would benefit farmers from across the region in the State,'' Mr. Sharma said here.
He said 10,000 hectares had been identified for revival and expansion over a period of next five years. In addition to this, he said 250 acres of land would be used for organic tea farming project, cultivation of which fetches very high price in the export market. “The Central team felt the need to conduct a baseline survey to identify the effective areas under tea and the area which could be taken up for further expansion and revival of this industry in Himachal Pradesh,'' he added.
In 2008, a sizeable quantity of Kangra tea was directly exported to Germany at an average price of Rs.605 per kg against an average price of Rs.98 per kg in Kolkata auctions. Hence, Kangra tea could have a distinct identity and tap the niche markets of Europe and United States along with the traditional markets of Kenya, Egypt, Iran and Pakistan.
Mr. Sharma also announced that the Tea Board would set up its new regional office at Palampur. An Organic Team Demonstration Farm would also be set up on the campus of the Himachal Pradesh Agriculture University, Palampur. The Union Minister said that a Spice Park would be set up at Nadaun in Hamirpur district and two regional parks at Sirmour in the State. In addition to this, a skill development centre was being set up Parwanoo in association with Confederation of Indian Industry and Indian Institute of Skill Development.