Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Tea Board targets replantation on 40,000 hectares

Tea Board is targeting replantation of ageing bushes in about 40,000 hectares for the 12th Plan ending 2016-17 to boost productivity, even as the Government recently approved an outlay of ₹1,425 crore for the Plan period, almost double that of the previous plan.
The Tea Board recently announced the modalities and guideline for implementing the 12th Plan scheme effective April 1, 2015.
Project outlay
The outlay for plantation development scheme aimed at boosting productivity and output has components such as replantation and rejuvenation, mechanisation and organic tea, has been pegged at ₹400 crore (₹316 crore in 11th Plan period).
The outlay for quality up-gradation and product diversification which includes support for modernisation of factories and setting up new units has been pegged at ₹350 crore (₹250 crore).
Similarly, the market development and export promotion has been earmarked ₹200 crore (₹119 crore), Research & Development ₹150 crore (₹85 crore), Human Resource Development ₹100 crore (₹50 crore), Development of Small Holdings ₹200 crore.
Tea acreage in the country is estimated at 5.6 lakh hectare of which bushes with over 50 years of age are in about 1.48 lakh hectares (lh). Of this 1.48 lh, replantation of bushes need to be carried out in 95,000 ha, which the Tea Board is targeting over the next 10 years.
“For the 12th Plan period, we are targeting 40,000 hectares,” Tea Board sources said. Since the Special Purpose Tea Fund (SPTF) was set up in 2007, replanting has been carried out in about 36,600 hectares.
Of this, replanting was carried out in 11,600 hectares during the first three years of the current plan period.
Implementation hassles

Though growers are pleased with the Government’s move to relax certain norms, increase the outlay for the plantation development and hike the quantum of subsidy, they are a bit disappointed that the scheme is not being implemented for the entire plan period as it is effective only from April 1, 2015.
“We want the schemes to be implemented on a retrospective basis i.e, from the beginning of the 12th Plan period from year 2012-13 so that it benefits the growers who have undertaken replantation over the past three years,” said Ullas Menon, Secretary-General, United Planters’ Association of Southern India (Upasi).
According to the modalities, the total area norm for replanting has been reduced to 1 per cent from 2 per cent per annum, which meant that growers undertaking replanting on at least one per cent of their acreage would benefit from the scheme against the earlier two per cent, Menon said.
Replanting cost
Similarly, the subsidy for replanting, rejuvenation and replacement planting has been increased to 30 per cent from 25 per cent of the cost.
Also, the unit cost of replanting has been increased to ₹8,20,188 per hectare from ₹4,34,700 for Tamil Nadu and Karnataka while for Kerala it is ₹8,53,288 (₹4,45,195).

For encouraging the organic tea production, an additional 25 per cent incentive has been envisaged.

Source :The Hindu BusinessLine

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