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Assam Tea Growers Start No Sickles Campaign to Ensure the Overall Quality of Assam Tea

During the last 35 years there has been a huge increase in the land area under tea cultivation

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Although Assam tea is known worldwide for its quality due to hand plucking of 'two leaves and a bud', some of the gardens have resorted to harvesting tea leaves. Pixabay

To ensure the overall quality of Assam tea, the North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) has started a ‘No sickles’ campaign among the tea gardens of Assam.

Although Assam tea is known worldwide for its quality due to hand plucking of ‘two leaves and a bud’, some of the gardens have resorted to harvesting tea leaves with sickles (which is popularly known as kasi) affecting the quality of the tea.

Chairman of NETA, Nepul Saikia said this on Wednesday while adding that the organization has started the campaign “Say NA to Kasi for tea harvesting” from today and added that the campaign is basically to bring awareness amongst the tea producers not to use sickles during harvesting of tea leaves.

He said that during the last 35 years there has been a huge increase in the land area under tea cultivation. In 1990, Assam’s tea production was only 388 million kgs which has grown to 692 million kgs in 2018.

Assam, Tea Growers, Sickles
To ensure the overall quality of Assam tea, the North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) has started a ‘No sickles’ campaign. Pixabay

“There has been an increase of about 300 million kgs in 28 years which is about 80 per cent increase in production in 2018 compared to 1990 figures. However, there is a shortage of workers in peak cropping months – July, August, September and October. To overcome the shortage of workers some growers have resorted to harvesting tea leaves with sickles,” he said adding that the tea leaves harvested with sickles are of very poor quality and this is one of the major reasons for the quality failure of Assam tea.

“As per the latest Tea Board figures, about 49 per cent of tea produced in Assam is from the green tea leaves by small tea growers. Though a majority of small tea growers do not use sickles throughout the year we have started this campaign before it is too late”, said Saikia.

“This campaign is to basically bring awareness amongst tea growers on the harvesting of quality tea and also to bring the attention of policymakers in providing growers with substitutes like shears, battery operated plucking machines and one/two men operated harvesting machines”, said Bidyananda Barkakoty, Adviser NETA.

The Tea Board has a field mechanization scheme of 25 per cent subsidy on plucking and pruning machines for general category and 100 per cent subsidy for SC & ST. “This scheme can be further popularized amongst the growers and subsidy amount should be increased to 75 per cent for general category”, Barkakoty added.

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“A Guwahati-based investor is developing a plucking machine with an Israeli technique and we are expecting a prototype of it in October. This plucking machine which is in the designing stage now will help in selective harvesting of tea leaves similar to hand plucking”, he added. (IANS)

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Assam Launches Campaign to Control Diarrhoea Across the State

Diarrhoea can be prevented with safe drinking water, sanitation, proper breastfeeding/appropriate nutrition and hand-washing

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Similarly, the total quantity of tea exports during the 2017-18 fiscal increased by 28.94 million kg or 12.71 per cent as compared to the last corresponding period. The tea exports stood at 227.63 million kg in 2016-17.
Tea Garden in India, wikimedia commons

The National Health Mission, Assam on Tuesday launched the Intensified Diarrhoea Control Fortnight (IDCF) campaign and will be targeting at least 34 lakh children across the state.

The fortnight will be observed from May 28 to June 9 this year, officials said on Tuesday, adding the IDCF was launched and observed across the state by district health societies and block level units at all health institutes.

During this fortnight campaign, frontline health workers and other departments stakeholders will be sensitized to prioritize investment in control of diarrhoea, one of the most common childhood illnesses. It aims to create mass awareness about the most scientific, effective and economic diarrhoea treatment” a combination of Oral Rehydration Salt (ORS) solution and zinc tablets, officials said.

Woman plucking tea in a tea plantation of Assam.
Source: Wikimedia Commons

“Intensified community awareness activities on hygiene and promotion of ORS and zinc therapy for treatment of diarrhea will be conducted at state, district and village levels. More than 34 lakh cildren will be targeted in this fortnight campaign,” said an official.

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It may be mentioned here that almost all the deaths due to diarrhoea can be averted by preventing and treating dehydration by use of ORS (Oral Rehydration Solution) and administration of zinc tablets along with adequate nutritional intake by the child.

Diarrhoea can be prevented with safe drinking water, sanitation, proper breastfeeding/appropriate nutrition and hand-washing. (IANS)