This is the first of the draft country reports prepared for compilation into the proposed book "Tea Growing Countries of the World", which will be edited by Nigel Melican, Ashok Kumar, V.S. Sharma, Wilson Ronno, ZenoApostolides, K.L. Mughogho and N.K. Jain as series Editor of ISTS books.
The British started organised tea plantations in India in 1839 with seeds brought from China. Although indigenous tea Camellia sinesis var assamica, was grown since times immemorial by the tribals in forests of Upper Assam, but its quality, was not recognized until 1839, when it was first sold at London auctions. Today India is the largest producer of tea, averaging 842 million kg or 26% of global production, grown in 129,027 holdings, 92% of which are less than 10 ha. North India contributes 3/4th of total production with 1/4th coming from South India. However, India consumes 77% of its own produce, leaving only 200 m kg for its ever-shrinking share of exports. Plate 1 shows landscapes in different regions. The decennial average of climatic parameters are graphically presentd in plates 2,3. The impact of development on changing landscape is illustrated in plates 4 and 5.
India has strong tradition of R&D in tea. Tocklai, established in 191 1, is the oldest and largest tea research institute in the world. The next, UPASl was founded in 1926, DTRC in 1976 and IHBT in 1984. Their impact on their member tea growers is quantified. Global supply of tea is 3% more than the demand, which has depressed prices by 25%. Combined with spiraling costs of production, the un-remunerative prices have thrown Indian tea industry in an unprecedented economic crisis, which would leave ugly pugmarks on the face of the organized tea industry in India . Its impact will certainly linger for a long time. This paper suggests strategies for scientific management of the crisis.
This item was scanned with a HP 4850 Scanjet at 300 dpi and consists of 13 pages.