India to invest Rs 140 mn on organic tea

Written by Reuters | Mumbai, August 28: | Updated: Aug 28 2008, 20:46pm hrs
India is planning to invest Rs 140 million in the next three years to increase organic tea production, a senior official with the Tea Board said on Thursday.

"We are taking up a new project on organic tea. We are launching this project with financial support from Common Fund for Commodities (CFC)," G Boriah, Director of Tea Development in Tea Board said.

The Common Fund for Commodities is an inter-governmental financial institution established within the framework of the United Nations. It supports developing countries to improve and diversify commodities production and trade.

The project, which is set to launch on Sept. 19, will evolve a scientific package for organic tea cultivation, he said.

Tea made using environment-friendly methods is classified as organic tea.

In India, the current production of organic tea is about 5 million kgs, of which 90 per cent are exported to Australia, Germany, Japan, UK and the US The country's total tea production is about 950 mln kg a year.

Tea Board is planning to start the project in 100 hectares each in Assam, Darjeeling and South India, Boriah said.

"We are also planning to carry out a study on organic demand in the domestic market as well as in the international market," he said.

In India, the organic tea cultivation first started in Darjeeling during late 1980s and gradually spread to the tea growing areas in Assam and South India. Darjeeling now accounts for half of the total organic tea production.

Food and Agricultural Organisation and International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements will provide necessary technical support to the project, Boriah said.