By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, January 23: To deal with the growing impact of climate change, tea planters in Assam has decided to increase the green belt cover in the estates and create more water bodies on vacant lands.
These suggestions came up during a symposium organized by the Assam Branch Indian Tea Association (ABITA) at NEDFi House on Thursday.
The tea industry in Assam has been facing erratic and unfavourable climate conditions for almost a decade now.
“We have been faced with droughts, uneven distribution of rainfall pattern and have recorded extremely high temperatures – a phenomenon not experienced by the tea industry before,” said Sandeep Ghosh of ABITA.
To address the issue of climate change, the Assam Branch Indian Tea Association (ABITA) has taken the lead to enter into a consultation with eminent scientists in order to make the planting community aware of the weather changing patterns as also equip them to combat the uncertainties in times ahead, he said.
Dr N Muraleedharan, Director, Tea Research Association, iugurated the consultation. A Krishan, chairman, ABITA gave the keynote address.
Tea estates have experienced uneven distribution of rainfall, prolonged droughty conditions leading to die outs of tea bushes and run off of water in plantation areas due to sudden heavy bursts of rain often causing floods. This phenomenon has been opposed to excellent distribution of rainfall, retention of water for the healthy growth of bushes and moderate temperature conditions which promoted ideal conditions for tea growth. The symposium was anchored by Dr Mridul Hazarika, Vice–Chancellor, Gauhati University – who being an eminent tea scientist himself. He conducted the proceedings with the professiol inputs of Dr KN Ganeshaiah, Professor, Department of Forestry and Environmental Sciences, University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, Dr Gufran Beig, FASc, Chief Project Scientist, SAFAR & Scientist–F, Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune and Hari Prasad Sarma, Rector, Gauhati University.
The tea industry perspective was presented by Haren Barua of Apeejay Tea Limited.
A number of queries were raised by the senior planters and industry representatives.
Dr Hazarika was of the opinion that the consultation has been timed very well keeping in view that the Industry had suffered crop losses leading to loss in economic vitality. The suggestions which were recorded from the planting community were to increase the green belt cover in the estates, creation of more water bodies on vacant lands.
Dr Hazarika and the scientists present opined that the overall impact of climate change was a phenomenon attributable to global warming and had to be studied in depth and in doing so, vital statistical base was necessary. Erratic weather patterns were not only found in the Northeast, but across the country.
The consultation was first of its kind for the tea industry in Assam, initiated by the ABITA.
The ABITA would carry forward the consultation process in its tea growing areas and maintain a link between field level data and scientific alysis to be done by the experts, a press note from ABITA added.