Brahmakunda (West Tripura) , Jan. 3 : Aiming to provide employment and improving the ailing tea industry through better management and increased production, a ten-day workshop on development of skill of small tea growers was organised in Brahmakunda of West Tripura.
The Tripura Tea Development Corporation Ltd (TTDCL) organised the workshop with financial support of the Directorate of Skill Development Tripura.
Tripura which is among the few tea producing state in India has been chosen for training so that the small growers or farmers of this state, who are very new in the field get the maximum benefit out of it by acquiring hands-on scientific knowledge.
The training programme is expected to encourage the tea growers to acquire skills so that they right from preparation of nurseries, choosing the best saplings, grow the best trees with high yield and thus increase their production and income.
At present 14,092 square hectares are earmarked for tea cultivation in 58 estates and out of which 52 are operational. But the average tea yield of Tripura is just 1,043 kg per square hectare compared to the national average of 1658 kg, which is a matter of concern for the tea producers who have to face tough competition in the global auction market.
Some 12,000 families are directly employed in the tea estates and since 1994 around 4,346 small tea growers including 2,483 tribal are cultivating tea in 3,406 square hectare area.
The first batch consisting of 20 trainees of small tea growers, most of them from the tribal section expressed that the training will be a boon for them and not only help in providing employment with quality and quantity improvement for the produces but also for increased profit.
Samal Debbarma, a small tea grower said, "Here in the ten day training we learned how to plant a tea sapling and how we can increase our production. Along with classroom we also got practical demonstrations in the field. I will start a small tea plantation in a 5 hector plot next to my house to get self-employed."
Another trainee Sanjib Debbarma said: "I have learned how to create nursery, plant sapling and other activities. I have learned all these here now I shall start growing tea in a small plot of two hector.This will help towards improving our family condition and so that we can live better. What was taught here, if we follow that then we can surely get prosper and live better."
Moreover, the classroom knowledge along with the practical demonstration at the ground aimed at disseminating basic scientific knowledge for better management of their work for improved quality, productivity, effect cost-reduction through adoption of better management practices and most important start production of quality tea, including organic tea, as demand for it is on rise.
The Directorate of Skill Development in collaboration with the Tea Board of India also has plans to boost production by new plantations, rejuvenation, skill development, providing better irrigation and technical facilities.
The Directorate of Skill Development has taken several initiative to scale up skill development activities in the state and to create conducive environment for creation of skilled manpower in the state.
Tripura is the fifth largest among 14 tea-producing states after Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala but the state suffers from shortage of skill labour in the sector and which also hampers the production.
Tea plantation started in Tripura a century back from the year 1916 under the Royal Administration at Hiracherra Tea Estate in Kailasahar by hiring workers from East Bengal.