North East Tea Conclave & Expo 2016
welcome to Land of Goddess Kamakhya and God gifted state, Assam. He further stated that tea is a very important industry for the development of country’s economy. He suggested small tea growers to form self-help groups. Small tea growers are officially around 79,000 and unofficially over a lakh. He mentioned that a Tea Park is set to come up near the Guwahati airport with warehouse facilities and railway connectivity. He extended full support towards overall development of the industry and also mentioned more runways and number of flights at Guwahati Airport. Mr Bidyananda Barkakoty, Convener NE Tea Conclave & Expo 2016 & Vice Chairman, Tea Board of India mentioned that it is a very sad state of affairs where Conclave for Tea Industry is conducted after a gap of 9 years since the International Tea Convention in 2007. He further stated that when Assam contributes over 50% tea production of the country it is not a good sign. So it was proposed to conduct such conclaves every alternate year, one in a tea growing state and the other in a tea consuming state alternately. The session on “Opportunities & Challenges of India - Tea Industry & Trade” was addressed by Mr. Ravi Agarwal, Vice Chairman, CII North Bengal & Past Chairman, FAITTA along with other panellists from the tea industry. He stated, “The biggest challenge is to create shortage of tea.” The panel discussed the various challenges including protecting quality of tea, right wages to the workers, global warming, high GST and consumers opting for other beverages. Overall, the image of tea needs improvement through quick service restaurants. There are several opportunities as India is the main hub for value added tea export market due to its favourable location. Aggressive tea marketing campaign and brand building is the need of the hour. It was followed by a session on Speciality Tea Manufacturing & Marketing where the introductory remarks were offered by Sanjio Kumar, IFS. Executive Director, Tea Board, NE Zonal Office. Mr. S. Soundaranjan, Director Tea Development, Tea Board gave an overview of tea factory machines for micro sector and shared several success stories, number of tea factories in Assam being highest 708 and 121 in Arunachal Pradesh. North East Tea Conclave & Expo 2016 was a major success with a huge turnout of audience and major participation by small tea growers who got much extended support from big planters for further technical knowhow and growth of the tea industry.