Dharamsala, June 6
Tea growers of Kangra district have not been impacted by the rejection of Indian consignments by various countries owing to a high pesticide content. They say that as Kangra farmers do not use pesticides or chemical fertilisers, the rejection of Indian tea consignments by various countries is unlikely to affect them. They claim that their tea has been exported to European countries this year after it was found to be of desired quality.
Rajinder Singh Thakur, president of Kangra Cooperative Tea Factory, Palampur, says that the sales and prices of their products have not been affected by the rejection of consignments. Last week, the factory sold about 12,000 kg of tea and this week, it had already surpassed the target of sales, he adds.
KG Butail, a leading tea farmer of Palampur, also says that the rejection of tea consignments exported from other parts of India will not affect Kangra farmers. In Kangra, the average tea farms are smaller and the farmers cannot afford to use chemical fertilisers and chemicals. So, Kangra tea is organic in nature, he adds.
Sources say that a tea farm in Dharamsala has exported its produce in small quantities of 50 kg to 100 kg to France. His tea samples were found to be compliant with European Union standards. Kangra tea had recently got the Geographical Indication (GI) tag from the European Union.
The tea farmers of Kangra say that as the quality of their produce is better and organic, the state government should help them in its branding and marketing. Ashish Butail, Congress MLA from Palampur, who is also a leading tea farmer, says that a majority of tea farmers in Kangra have small landholdings and they cannot market their produce on their own. The government should help them in branding and marketing Kangra tea so that they get remunerative prices and the shrinking tea gardens of the district are saved, he adds.