The inaugural session of the ‘Tea Conclave’, organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC), under the aegis of the Tea Board of India, was held at hotel The Park, Kolkata, on Friday.
Chairman of the Tea Board Prabhat K Bezboruah inaugurated the day-long conference. The list of speakers also included Rani Katharpi, ACS additional secretary, industries and commerce department, Assam; Arun K Roy, deputy chairman, Tea Board of India; Sanjay Bansal, chairman, Ambootia Tea Group; Dr Phalguni Das Biswas, founder-director, INHANA; Ravi Suchanti, CMD, J Thomas and Co. (P) Ltd; Dr Sudipta Mukherjee, adviser, National Tea Research Foundation (NTRF); Bijoy Gopal Chakraborty, president, Confederation of Indian Small Tea Growers’ Association (CISTA) and Vijay Jacob Parakkal, SVP and managing director, JWT, Kolkata, among others.
Giving a glimpse of the Indian tea industry at the inaugural session, the chairman of the Tea Board said tea was the backbone of North India. He said the tea plantation sector was continuously in the news for certain issues that the tea fraternity faces and that appropriate measures needed to be taken to boost this sector.
He also pointed out that the tea plantation sector needed to be considered an ‘infrastructure’, which, in turn, would help it attract government funding. He added that there was a continuous imbalance between the supply and demand of tea and, so, demand creation and quality upgradation were the need of the hour for the Indian tea industry.
Representing the Small Tea Growers’ (STGs’) fraternity, Bijoy Gopal Chakraborty mentioned that they contributed around 48% to the sector, with Assam accounting for the highest amount. He added that STGs were a blessing to the Indian tea industry and had a great positive influence on the sector.
The session continued with another important aspect being highlighted by Dr Sudipta Mukherjee — organic tea cultivation. “Scientific organic farming is the best way to counter most of the challenges that exist in the Indian tea industry,” he said, adding that the industry needed to introduce effective technologies that could enable organic tea production.
The session saw a very good delegate participation representing the tea fraternity and other stakeholders. The event was well-attended by both the print and electronic media.