With irrigation emerging as one of the most critical tools to tackle climate change in tea industry, the Tea Board has said that Central Government intervention is necessary to help ease state land laws. This is required for making changes in land-use pattern within tea estates for setting up water storage facilities.
“A multi-pronged approach is needed to mitigate the impact of climate change on the tea industry,” said S. Soundararajan, Director Tea Development, Tea Board. He said that estates should be encouraged to construct check-dams and revive water-bodies.
Climate change in the Indian tea industry and ways to mitigate it were discussed at a meeting convened recently by the Commerce Ministry. The meeting held at Jorhat in Assam was attended by the industry and the apex tea research associations.
Climate-change has made crop prediction erratic and output uneven, with increased occurrence of attacks from pests and weeds, according to a presentation made by the Tea Board at the meeting.
It was pointed out that irrigation had assumed increased importance in view of the erratic rainfall brought on by climate change. The Tea Board mooted the idea of Central Government intervention to ease out state land laws, which prevent change in land use pattern and construction of check dams and ponds in plantation areas.
The Tea Board officials said that as part of the 12th plan, Rs. 428 crore had been given to the industry for development schemes, which included funds for irrigation. At the meeting, Tea Board officials said that 40,343 hectares have been funded in the last five years.
Tea Research Association said in its presentation that climate change impacts the tea industry through changes in temperature, erratic rainfall and extreme events like floods and droughts.
These lead to lower yield, reduced life of tea bushes, higher pest attacks and erratic output which in turn leads to market imbalances. Intervention areas need to be focussed and well defined,” said P.K. Bezboruah, chairman TRA.
The Tea industry said that it would like the Tea Board to be more responsive to its needs.Special Correspondent