Nabard Report on Nilgiris Tea

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TEA IN TAMIL NADU
A Commodity Study in Nilgiris and Coimbatore Districts

NATIONAL BANK FOR AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT TAMIL NADU REGIONAL OFFICE, CHENNAI 2006

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Foreword Tea is cultivated in an area of 1.14 lakh hectares in South India with an annual production of more than 2,000 lakh kgs. Tamil Nadu leads both in terms of area and production of tea in South India, with maximum concentration and production in Nilgiris district. The present study is an attempt to address issu^s related to cultivation, processing, marketing and export of tea in Nilgiris and Coinfibatore districts. Besides, the study also identifies different stages in supply chain management, assesses the role of credit, examines Government policies in tea Sector and also the R&D initiatives undertaken by Tea Research institutions. The demand- supply imbalance has created a pressure on tea prices. The situation is alarming today when the prices of green tea leaf have gone down from Rs. 18/kg during 1997-98 to Rs. 6/kg during 2003-04. This has been the major factor affecting the economics of tea gardens for the small growers. Due to the rising cost of production, tea estates have also been affected. Auctions still continue to remain the primary marketing channel despite the relaxation to the manufacturers of made tea to sell tea through any source. Based on the findings, the study recommends boosting replantation activities, restructuring of INDCOSERVE, formation of joint liability groups among the small tea growers, aggressive tea marketing campaigns, promotion of new innovative products like iced tea and emphasis on R&D in cultivation and processing technology. It is hoped that the report will be useful to everyone interested in the development of tea sector.

Chennai 31 March 2006

(Dr. Prakash Bakshi) Chief General Manager

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Chapter 1 Introduction

Tea (Camellia species) originated in South East Asia and China is the first country to use tea as a beverage. The word tea is derived from t'e of the Chinese Fukien dialect and in Cantonese, tea is known as ch'a. In this form, the name has reached India, Iran, Japan and Middle East. Tea plant in its natural state grows into a small or medium sized plant. At present, there are three different varieties of tea plant viz., Assam variety, China variety and Cambod variety.

1.2

More than 45 countries spread over all the continents except North America cultivate tea.

The important tea growing countries of the world are India, Sri Lanka, China, Indonesia, Georgia and Argentina.

1.3

The saga of development of tea in India is fascinating. Tea was reported to be growing in

India in the early 19th century. The search for tea in Assam was started by the East India Company as an alternative source of supply to United K ingdom which until then was mainly dependent on China. With the emphasis on indigenous tea in Assam, the first commercial effort in organised tea cultivation was started by Assam Tea Company in 1839. Tea plants sent from Calcutta Botanical gardens were...
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