For Prelims: Developmental scheme and tea promotion, Tea Industry of India, Mobile app related to Chai Sahyog, ODOP (one district and one product), Geographical indication tag. 

For Mains: Government initiatives and Indian tea industry. 

Why in News?

A Union Minister recently spoke at the International Small Tea Grower's Convention of the Indian Tea Association (ITA).

  • The ITA is the oldest and most prestigious association of Indian tea growers, established in 1881. It has taken on various roles in developing strategies and launching initiatives to promote the expansion and development of the sector.

How is the Indian tea industry doing right now?

Production:

  • The second-largest tea producer in the world is India.
  • Assam and West Bengal produce most of the nation's Tea, which will be produced in the northern region of India, which will account for 83% of the total volume in 2021–22.
  • Assam's two tea-growing areas are the Assam valley and Cachar.
  • The three main tea-producing regions in West Bengal are the Dooars, Terai, and Darjeeling.
  • The major producing states are Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Karnataka, which account for 17% of the nation's total production.

Consumption:

  • 80% of the Tea produced in India is consumed domestically, making it one of the top tea-consuming nations in the world.

Export:

  • 10% of global tea exports come from India, one of the top 5 exporters of the commodity.
  • India exported Tea for a total of approximately USD 687.9 million in 2021.
  • More than 25 nations around the world are recipients of Indian tea exports.
  • Some of the top countries importing Tea from India are China, Russia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
  • In terms of weight, India exported 201 million kg of Tea in 2021–22.
  • Black Tea accounts for about 96% of all tea exports from India and is the most common type.
  • Tea is exported from India in the following varieties: black Tea, regular Tea, Green Tea, herbal tea, masala tea, and lemon tea.
  • In terms of the total amount of Tea exported from India, black Tea, regular Tea, and green Tea account for roughly 80%, 16%, and 3.5% of the total, respectively.
  • The teas from Assam, Darjeeling, and Nilgiri in India are among the best in the world.
  • Due to geographical solid indications, significant investment in tea processing facilities, ongoing innovation, an expanded product mix, and strategic market expansion, Indian Tea is among the best in the world.

Geographical Indication (GI) Tag:

  • The first GI tag product was Darjeeling Tea, also known as the "Champagne of teas" due to its floral aroma.
  • Darjeeling tea also comes in two other varieties, Green and White, both of which have GI tags.

Regulatory Framework for the Sector:

  • The Indian tea industry is being developed and promoted by the Tea Board of India.

What is the Indian Tea Board?

About:

  • It was established in 1953 to develop the tea industry in India and is a statutory body under the Ministry of Commerce. Its proper functioning started in 1954.

Vision:

  • To make the nation the world's leading tea producer, it established several programs and initiatives.

Members:

  • The Board has 31 members (including the Chairman), trade unionists, officials from important tea-producing states, tea-producing companies, traders, brokers, and consumers.
  • Every three years, the Board is reconstituted.

Bureaus in India:

  • The Board has 17 additional offices spread out across India in addition to its headquarters in Kolkata.

Foreign Offices:

  • Currently, the Tea Board has offices abroad in Moscow and Dubai.

What initiatives has the Indian Tea Board taken?

  • Promotion of packaged Indian Tea:
    • This program supports marketing campaigns such as up to 25% reimbursement of costs, exhibitions in overseas department stores, product literature, and website development, and up to 25% reimbursement of costs related to inspections.
  • Subsidies for domestic exporters:
    • In order to participate in international fairs and exhibitions, the Tea Board also offers subsidies to domestic exporters.
  • Program for Promoting and Developing Tea:
    • The Tea Board of India launched this program in November 2021, and will run from 2021 to 2026.
    • This program's goal is to raise Indian production's productivity and quality.
    • The following seven elements are crucial to this plan:
      • The welfare of the workforce
      • Activities in research and development
      • Reforms to regulations
      • Expenses for establishment
      • Online Licensing System (exporter license, waste license, and warehouse license all automatically renew).
      • Development of small tea farmers' plantations
      • Sector-specific action plan creation for North East India
      • Assisting tea traders and producers with marketing initiatives
  • Chai Sahyog Mobile App:
    • It addresses a variety of problems facing small tea growers.

ABOUT TEA:

  • The second most popular drink in the world, after water, is Tea, a beverage made from the Camellia sinensis plant.

Origin:

  • Although the exact location of the plant's first growth is unknown, it is thought that Tea originated in northeast India, north Myanmar, and southwest China. Tea consumption dates back 5,000 years in China, according to evidence.

Conditions for Growth:

  • Climate: Tea's tropical and subtropical plant thrives in hot, humid conditions.
  • Temperature: Temperatures between 20° and 30°C are ideal for the bush's growth; temperatures between 10° and 35°C are harmful.
  • Rainfall: Each year, it needs 150–300 cm of rain, evenly spaced out over the year.
  • Soil: The best soil for growing Tea is slightly acidic (without calcium) and has a porous subsoil that allows for free water percolation.

Importance:

  • Tea production is a labour-intensive industry that generates jobs, especially in rural and underdeveloped areas. It is one of the most important cash crops, serving as the main source of income and export earnings for some of the world's poorest countries.
  • The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include the eradication of extreme poverty (Goal 1), the fight against hunger (Goal 2), the empowerment of women (Goal 5), and the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems (Goal 15). Tea production and processing contribute to all of these SDGs.
  • In numerous societies, it also has cultural significance.

Health benefits:

  • Tea's anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and weight-loss properties can promote wellness and good health.

Worldwide celebration of Tea:

  • Following its designation by the UN General Assembly in December 2019, it is celebrated on May 21 of each year.

How can the Indian tea industry be supported in its expansion?

  • The One District and One Product (ODOP) program can aid in promoting Indian Tea's fame.
  • The "AROMA" of Tea needs to be improved in order for the industry to become profitable, viable, and sustainable:
    • Help: Provide small farmers with financial assistance to raise production to keep up with domestic and global demand while improving quality and sustainability.
    • Re-energise: Focus on high-value markets like the EU, Canada, South America, and the Middle East while building infrastructure to boost exports.
    • Organic: Through brand marketing and promotion, promote organic and GI Tea.
    • Modernisation: To strengthen regional supply chains and help tea farmers become self-sufficient.
    • Adaptability: Focus on developing a risk-proof ecosystem or the requirement for sustainable solutions to assist tea plantations in coping with the effects of climate change.