AGARTALA: The Tripura Tea Development Corporation (TTDC), the nodal agency for growth of small tea plantation farmers, has decided to market tea produced in the state under the Tripureshwari Tea brand, a top official said on Wednesday.
"We have decided to market 100 gram and 50 gram packets of tea produced in Tripura under the brand name Tripureshwari Tea. We have already got approval from the central government to use the brand name, TTDC chairperson Santosh Saha told reporters here.
He said Tea Board of India and other stakeholders have been working on designing a logo and branding of tea produced in the state for better trade opportunities.
He said steps would be taken to ensure efficient marketing of Tripura tea and revive the industry in the state.
"Tripureshwari Tea would gain its place in the tea market and create a niche for itself like Assam Tea or Darjeeling Tea," he said.
Tripura has 58 operational tea estates, among which 42 are individually owned, 13 are operated under cooperative societies and 3 are run by the TTDC.
Nearly 3,000 small tea growers also run their small tea estates with government support. As per the state's estimates, 6,885 hectare is under tea cultivation in which 3.58 crore kg green tea leaf is produced annually.
Tea industry started in Tripura in 1916, at Hiracherra tea estate in the present Unakoti district. However, after a century, tea from the state has to depend on auction centres located in Assam and West Bengal. Without any brand for tea from Tripura, bulk of the commodity is reportedly smuggled into Bangladesh and sold under various brands.
The TTDC is also contemplating on setting up an auction market here to woo tea producers from neighbouring Bangladesh and Assam.
Tea produced in Tripura are generally sold in tea auction centres in Guwahati and Kolkata. If we can set up tea auction centre here, we would be able to sell our tea and would also try to woo tea producers from neighbouring Assam and Bangladesh, Saha said.
We have proposed to sell our tea at Srimangal auction market in Bangladesh. It will cut down the cost of sending tea to different states and also give us a potential market. The proposal is now being considered by the governments of India and Bangladesh. We are looking at different options, he said.
Saha also said that tea tourist circuits would be made centring tea gardens in West and North Tripura districts. "There are tourist resorts in these areas which will help in a collaborative initiative with the TTDC," he said.
Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Tuesday told reporters that a tea tower would be set up in a tea garden near here to attract people and a multi-storied building would be constructed that will sell as well conduct research on tea in the state.