‘Tea production likely over 1 bn kg this year’

New Delhi: India may produce a record of over one billion kg tea in the current year riding on the continuous growth in output over the last five-six years, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Wedesday.

"During the last five-six years, tea industry has seen tremendous growth in production. We are going to close the current year with over a billion kg production for the first time in the history of our country," Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Jyotiraditya Scindia said during Question Hour.

India had produced 966.4 million kg tea in 2010. To a supplementary, Scindia said various schemes to improve productivity of the tea gardens and address the problems of producers were paying dividends.

Outlining various steps taken by the government, he said a Special Purpose Tea Fund has been set up for extending financial assistance for planting and rejuvenation of old tea bushes.

Financial assistance was also provided for factory modernisation, value-addition and quality certification.

Scindia said a scheme to incentivise the production of orthodox tea was also implemented.

Since small tea holdings accounted for nearly 26 per cent of the total production in the country, special attention is paid towards improving their productivity.

"Financial assistance to small growers is provided by way of subsidy for new planting, setting up mini factories, leaf collection centres, purchase of leaf carry bags and weighing scales, revolving corpus for inputs, organising study tours and setting up tea nurseries," he said.