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Indian tea industry faces major challenge due to climate change

Indian tea industry faces major challenge due to climate change

The Economic Times, New Delhi, 24th December, 2015

Indian tea industry in Assam and West Bengal which is facing a major challenge due to climate change resulting from uneven distribution of rainfall and extreme temperature patterns has sought government funding to address the issue.

"Droughts, floods and severe attack of pests have been commonplace adversely affecting production, quality and costs," said A.K. Bhargava, chairman, Indian Tea Association (ITA).

The tea Industry despite low carbon footprint faces critical environmental challenges. "A comprehensive strategy to deal with climate change duly supported by government funding is an immediate necessity. The recommendations to deal with climate change made by our Research bodies have flagged, amongst others, cultivation of alternative crops as a key initiative. This could be done subject to Government support on vacant land in tea estates wherever available," the ITA chairman said.

It deserves a mention that crop diversification calls for greater flexibility in the existing land-use laws in both Assam and West Bengal. In this connection, there is a need for due consideration of the recommendations forwarded to the respective State Governments as per National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS) study, commissioned by Tea Board regarding amendment of land laws for facilitating diversification, Bhargava said.

The Industry desires a competitive environment for production and processing with adequate government safeguards for a long-term socio-economic and environmental sustainability. This will help in neutralizing the impact of climate change, a cause for which ITA can work in tandem with TRA and other research institutions.