Concerned over the slump in the state's tea industry, Chaudhary Sarwan Kumar (CSK) Himachal Pradesh Agriculture University (HPAU) vice- chancellor KK Katoch urged the region's tea planters, experts and scientists to bring more area under tea cultivation.
Speaking at a day- long training programme on tea cultivation at University Campus in Palampur, Katoch said area under tea plantation, has gone down from 4000 hectares to nearly half of that area.
“Now, 3200 hectares of land has been identified for tea cultivation in Chamba district,” said Katoch, adding that tea business of the country was to the tune of Rs 1,500 crore but had the potential to go up to Rs 6,000 crore if efforts were made by all stake holders.
Katoch said that the state produced 700 kg of tea per hectare as against the national average of 1,950 Kg.
“Kangra tea commands a special market due to its rich aroma and has a glorious past,” he said, while appreciating the the efforts of the university's department of tea husbandry and agro-forestry for regularly organising training programmes for tea cultivators.
Speaking on the occasion, director of extension education NK Pathania said that many leading tea planters of the area have made efforts to continue the tradition of producing quality tea and commended the university for orgaining workshops from these planters at regular intervals to update their knowledge.
Tea cultivation was started in Kangra in 1849 and the second half of the nineteenth century saw a massive upswing in the tea industry, which also received accolades for their quality produce at international levels and won gold medals in the Amsterdam auction market. However, the earthquake of 1905 resulted in huge losses to the industry.
Leading tea growers from the area participated in the training.