From Special Correspondent
PASIGHAT, Feb 14: Arunachal Pradesh tea growers should adopt fully organic cultivation methods, Agriculture & Horticulture Minister Tage Taki said here in his address to first Arunachal Tea Festival (ATF), organized at The Lhoba Resort on the banks of the Siang in the outskirts of Pasighat town in East Siang district. on Tuesday
Organised by Arunachal Pradesh Agriculture Marketing Board (APAMB), the ATF brought together tea growers, promoters and enthusiasts from across the state. The organisers said that it was aimed to not just celebrate the legacy of tea cultivation of the state but also to provide a platform for tea cultivators to exchange ideas to learn ways to improve their products.
Terming it as a historic day for the state and tea growers should use the platform to learn from each other, Taki encouraged the use of organic tea cultivation methods.
“We should not be left behind as the world moves to organic cultivation,” he said, adding the growers should learn about economically feasible cultivation methods, like smaller plantations, and to inform the Govt about the challenges & suggestions that they may have.
Notably, he was also critical of some of the existing forest-related policies of the country, stating that currently they do not support harnessing of forest products when speaking about the delays in obtaining forest clearances for tea plantations.
Agriculture director Anong Lego, in his address earlier, said that state tea growers have not been able to avail benefits from the Tea Board of India (TBI) due to hurdles in obtaining certain forest clearances.
He also informed that around 150 hectares of tea plantations in the state are currently growing their tea organically, i.e, without the use of chemical fertilizers.
Following a tea tasting session with Romen Gogoi, senior tea taster with the Tea Research Association of Jorhat-based Tocklai Tea Research Institute, tips were given to tea growers about how to improve their end products.
Gogoi later said that the organic tag must mean continued practice of organic methods. While he did point to certain areas of improvement, Gogoi said that overall the produce of the state is of good quality.
On the policy front, he said that such events like the ATF need to be held regularly and experts need to be brought in on a regular basis to train & provide feedback to the growers to help them with the cultivation & processing of tea.
A representative of a tea estate here said that there were many challenges to the growth of the sector in the state, including an alleged lack of support from the TBI.
Session were also held on ‘Marketing of tea for tea blenders in Arunachal/NER by M-Junction’ by tea taster Rituraj Hazarika, branch head of Jorhat Tea E-Marketplace that manages Jorhat Tea Auction Centre, and tea blending with assistant professor of Assam Agricultural University Dr Diganta Kumar Bora, in charge of its tea processing unit in the tea husbandry & technology.