Isro advice for Assam gardens

Hi-tech instruments to help planters gauge erratic weather

Silchar, Feb. 21: Sudden showers or an erratic dry spell will no longer be able to catch Assam tea planters off guard.

The industry is enlisting help of the Indian Space Research Organisation, which will advise planters on possible weather fluctuations with the help of remote sensing instruments.
The senior vice-president of the Tea Association of India, Hemant Bangur, revealed the industry’s hi-tech leap during the 40th annual general meeting of its Barak valley branch here yesterday.
He said, “The tea industry in the country in general and Assam in particular is now caught in a twilight zone where the growing demand for tea is in mismatch with its supply. This is because there is a paucity of land in the tea estates at present to ensure growth in the output.”
“There should be a concerted effort on the part of the tea industry captains in Assam, which accounts for nearly half of the country’s total output of this beverage, to turn more scientific while improving the quality of their product,” he said.
Bangur also stressed the need for producers to be conscious about the changing taste profiles of the consumers, both domestic and overseas, to ensure better business.
Otherwise, he warned, the centuries-old tea estates in Assam as well as in the rest of the country “would one day perish”.
He also spoke about the special purpose tea fund, which provides necessary resources for replanting tea bushes.
“With the replanting and rejuvenation chores in place, the output of better quality tea can be ensured,” he said.
Bangur pointed out the need for better marketing, prodding tea companies in Assam particularly those situated in the Cachar tea region, to stress on market research, consumption study, branding, advertisement and attractive packaging.
The Barak zone chairman of the Tea Association of India, P.K. Mishra, on the other hand, deplored the fall in production of tea in the Cachar region in the last calendar year, thanks to excessive rain and little sunlight.
He said shortfall of CTC tea in Cachar region last year is estimated at 3 million kg.