The Confederation of Indian Small Tea Growers’ president, Bijoy Gopal Chakraborty, has welcomed the Tea Board’s initiative for climate resilient and adaptation measures through the National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC) for small tea growers in five states in India.

“We welcome this climate change fund. It is good that the Tea Board of India is taking initiatives to convert STGs (Small Tea Growers) from ‘green tea leaf producer’ to ‘black tea producer’ by setting up ‘cluster based tea factories.’ STGs have the capacity to produce ‘low cost high quality’ tea, which will be moved to the export market,” said Mr Chakraborty.

According to the Tea Board’s records, India is the world’s second-largest producer of tea. In the financial year 2018-19, the production amounted to 1350 million kg, which was around 23 percent of the world’s tea production. About 20 percent of this production was exported, while the rest was consumed domestically.

The value of these tea exports from India stood at USD 787.50 million. Conscious of the growing threat of climate change, the Tea Board has initiated an adaptation project for climate resilience tea production in the five major tea growing states of Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Himachal Pradesh.

The Board has prepared a tea sector concept note to access NAFCC fund under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Government of India, according to the Deputy Chairman of the Tea Board, Arun Kumar Ray. According to him, the concept note was approved by the MoEF&CC’s Technical Scrutiny Committee (TSC) during a meeting held on 23 December 2019.

Subsequently, the Tea Board is working on the detailed project report to map the solutions as per climate vulnerable locations. The project will attract Rs 125 crore of adaptation fund over the next four years and will include field level interventions as well as capacity building for all stakeholders.

The objective of the project is to build resilience of the STGs against current and future threats of climate change, enable a sustainable tea value chain that is responsive to climate and market variations, create large number of climate resilient viable models with Self Help Groups and integrate resilient planning, implementation and monitoring among STGs and officials of the Tea Board. The Tea Board has identified 18 districts in Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Himachal Pradesh states covering around 50,000 interested small tea growers for the project.