Revised policy to give tea sector shot in arm

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Apr 24, 2014-

The National Tea and Coffee Development Board (NTCDB) plans to revise National Tea Policy 2000 with the aim of increasing production and exports by providing greater support to farmers.

The proposed policy will promote organic tea farming by compensating farmers

for their initial losses resulting from the shift from regular farming.

There has been an increase in the trend of organic tea farming in the country. Organic tea is considered to be a high-value product with possibilities of generating higher revenue for the country. Tea is one of products

that has been identified as having high export potential in Nepal Trade Integration Strategy 2010.

Streamlining customs procedures for exports, subsidies on fertilizers and tax waiver on the tea business are other incentives planned to be offered to the tea sector, according to NTCDB officials.

The operation modality of the tea auction house that is under construction in Jhapa will also be included in the policy. The board said that a draft of the policy was in the final stages and that it

would be submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture Development soon.

NTCDB Executive Director Raman Prasad Pathak said that they moved to amend the policy as it had failed to address the sector’s problems properly. “The proposed policy has focused mainly on developing an effective mechanism to promote the production and market promotion of the products,” he said.

The board said that another reason behind revamping the policy was the country’s swelling tea sector. According to the NTCDB, when the first tea policy was implemented in 2000, tea was grown on only 11,997 hectares in the five districts of the Eastern Nepal—Terhathum, Ilam, Panchthar, Jhapa and Dhankuta.

Tea farming has now expanded to other districts including Nuwakot, Dolakha, Lalitpur, Sindhupalchok, Kaski and a number of districts in the Mid-Western and Far Western regions.

“Similarly, the area under cultivation has grown to more than 18,000 hectares while annual production has jumped more than three-fold to 20 million kg from 6 million kg,” said Pathak, highlighting the need for a new policy.

According to the board, most of the farmers in the new tea-growing areas have been engaged in producing orthodox tea due to its growing demand. “However, the current policy does not provide adequate incentives to farmers, and it is not clear on land use for the purpose.”

Pathak added that the existing policy also conflicts with the laws related to land reform and forest management. “Through the policy, we have targeted to make the optimum use of government land lying idle in compliance with other laws related to land use,” he added.

Published: 25-04-2014 09:29

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