With declining revenues due to declining quality of once
preeminent Assam Tea accounting for 60% of India’s tea output,
the newly elected Government of
has initiated several steps to reclaim the lost
India was once the largest tea producer in the world but now
trails Kenya and Sri Lanka because of a series of issues
overwhelming Indian tea production. For instance, most of the
tea bushes in Assam are more than 50 years old and therefore
producing less. To compensate, some growers have been including
tea from other areas but marketing it as Assam Tea.
However, the problem started a little earlier when past
Governments a decade ago thought it best to encourage villagers
to grow tea as means of employment to offset poverty brought by
years of insurgency—10% of Assam’s 26 million populations are
unemployed. Growers accuse such short-sighted policies as
reasons why the quality has dropped. There are 40,000 small tea
growers in Assam growing 100 million kilograms of tea which is
sold in the open market and also exported.
The British started tea plantation in 1830s and Assam is the
largest tea growing region in the world.