Coonoor: “United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) has sanctioned $2 million for energy conversion in tea factories in South India,” Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh said.
“The four-year scheme would benefit 220 factories in the region, through which they could convert their present energy usage of firewood to wind or solar energy, he said.
The minister said that factories use 1 kilogram of firewood to produce 1 kilogram of tea, which results in energy loss.
“If converted to other sources of energy, they can save at least 50% of the amount being spent on traditional firewood,” he said.
“There are 60,000 small tea growers in Nilgiris district, who produce 40% of the total tea in South India,” Jairam said, adding that it was proposed to start a tea processing unit in the district through SHG (Self Help Group) on the lines of the one started at Jorhat in Assam.
Stating that Orthodox tea was now preferred across the globe, he said India’s share of this tea was only eight to 10% of the total of 950 million kg produced by the country. An incentive of Rs5 per kg was being given to those who convert from CTC to orthodox.
Jairam said that the Indian International Tea Festival would be held at Kochi from 19-21 February next year, in which 100 foreign delegates would be participating.
He also said that India was targeting export of 100 million kg of tea to Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Pakistan and Afghanistan in 5-6 years.