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Assam Government to pursue branding and GI Tag for Assam Tea

Assam Government to pursue branding and GI Tag for Assam Tea

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  26 Aug 2018 9:06 AM GMT

STAFF REPORTER

Guwahati: The Assam government on Saturday constituted a committee to pursue branding of 'Assam tea' and geographical indication (GI) tag for the same in a move to tackle the issue of price realization that is presently quite low for Assam Tea due to lack of branding.

Revealing this at a press conference here after a "tea dialogue" with leading tea companies and tea growers' associations of the state, Assam Industry and Commerce Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said, "We have formed a committee today, under the chairmanship of the additional chief secretary of Industries and Commerce Department and with members from all the leading tea companies and associations, which will meet immediately to discuss the matter of branding Assam Tea".

"At present, packeters are benefiting by using their own brands to sell tea manufactured in Assam. The committee will look for means to develop a brand for Assam Tea, along with a special logo. We will also be proposing for GI tag for Assam Tea, though we have GI tag for Orthodox Tea at present," he added.

Moreover, the committee will also look for ways to increase the demand for Assam Tea as well as ensure that price realization is better, the Minister said without setting a time frame for the panel to submit its report.

He pointed out that though 80% of Assam tea sells in the domestic market, the per capita consumption of tea has remained low in the country compared to other tea-drinking nations.

Refusing to blame any government agency for failing in its mandate to promote tea consumption in the local market, Patowary said," It is no good to put blame on others. We will be working ourselves to promote tea as a preferred beverage among the masses".

The Minister further said that the State has a surplus production of 80 ml kg tea this year, with the total production being 650 ml kg (approx) and the excess supply was pushing downwards the already-low prices for the tea.

"This is a serious problem in our hands at this moment. A Cabinet sub-committee already in place to deal with such issues will meet on Monday to evolve means to tide over the immediate crisis," he said.

On the other problems facing the tea industry at the moment as discussed in the "tea dialogue", Patowary said that the low productivity of the tea workers was an issue flagged by the tea companies.

Against production of 6kg per worker per annum in South India, it was 2.50 kg per worker per annum in Assam.

The Minister clarified that this figure is for the big tea gardens in the state, numbering 800.

The small tea growers, who are over 1 lakh in numbers in the state at present, produce 48% of the total tea of the state, with Assam accounting for 52% of the total tea production of the country.

"Tea is associated with the brand of Assam and the government will work at tandem with the growers to ensure that the industry sustains its profitability and the good name of Assam Tea remains", the Minister added.

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