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SHIMLA: Himachal Pradesh government has set the target to double the tea production in next five years. State recorded tea production at 10,01,419kg during 2021-22 and a target has been fixed to achieve tea production of around 20,00,000 kg by the next five years. At present tea is being cultivated in 2,310.71 hectares area in the lower slopes of Dhauladhar mountains in Dharamshala, Shahpur, Nagrota Bagwan, Palampur, Jaisinghpur, Baijnath and Jogindernagar.
Agriculture minister Virender Kanwar said that orchard integration of tea is also being explored towards doubling farmers’ income and offsetting area loss. He said that tea industry has contributed around 20 crore to the economy of Himachal Pradesh during last financial year providing direct and indirect employment to around 5,000 people in the state.
He said that additional area of 5.6 hectares was also brought under fresh plantation during the year 2021-22 and a target has been fixed to bring additional 100 hectares area under commercial tea cultivation in the coming 5 years.
Chaudhary Sarwan Kumar Himachal Pradesh Agriculture University Palampur has planted 800 tea saplings in Krishi Vigyan Kendras/Research Stations at Malan, Kangra, Bara, Berthin, Sundernagar, Bajaura and Dhaulakuan to access the scope of tea cultivation in non-traditional areas of the state.
Kangra tea is mostly exported to foreign countries through the dealers at Kolkata. Only 10% of the tea is being marketed within the state at present and 90% goes to the Kokata auction centre. However around 4,000kg of Kangra tea was exported directly from Himachal Pradesh to foreign countries mainly Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia and France during 2021-22 and a target has been fixed to export 20% of tea production to foreign countries directly from Himachal Pradesh in coming years.
There are around 5,900 tea farming families in the state and the average land holding of 95% of tea growers is less than 0.5 hectares. There are 21 big tea planters having an average land holding of more than 10 hectares while around 237 nos of tea planters have average land holding between 1 to 10 hectares.
Minister said that state government will organise tea festivals in important tourist places like Manali and Shimla in the coming year to promote Kangra Tea among tourists.