GUWAHATI, Jan 11 - Assam�s organic tea, especially the green tea produced by small tea growers, has been able to make its presence felt in the international market, and given the current encouraging trend, it could make substantial forays into the global market in the next couple of years.
�While several big growers of the State are already doing well in the global arena, the practice of organic cultivation is gradually picking up among the small growers. The trend is encouraging and by next year we are expecting a substantial amount in fully organic certification from the small growers,� sources in the Tea Board told The Assam Tribune.
Sources said the organic green tea and other organic varieties such as CTC, orthodox and white tea, produced by the small growers have been maintaining stringent quality standards and with the required exposure and market linkage, the small producers stand to gain a lot.
Sources added that at the just-concluded Pravasi Bharatiya Divas conclave in Bengaluru, two of the State�s small tea growers � Rupjyoti Gogoi and Bhabendra M Burhagohain � generated a lot of attention from national and international buyers.
Gogoi, who was able to secure several contracts from international buyers, said that the event gave him some much-needed exposure and a chance to interact directly with prospective buyers, especially those from abroad.
�I displayed organic CTC, green tea, orthodox and white tea under the brand �Jaibo Bristi� and was surprised by the overwhelming attention from tea aficionados, including foreign buyers. I was able to interact with several foreign buyers and the Tea Board is now helping me in finalising the procedures for the deals,� he said, adding that the Assam Industrial Development Corporation also helped him a lot in his endeavour.
Gogoi, who took to organic tea cultivation on his ten-bigha plot at Namrup in Dibrugarh district in 1998, said that he started processing organic tea with technological assistance from well-known innovator Uddhab Bharali.
�Of my total production, green tea comprises 60-70 per cent, orthodox tea 20-25 per cent and the rest is white tea, which is a new and growing fad among the tea-lovers,� he said.
According to Gogoi, quality control is the single-most important aspect for organic tea which has a huge demand in the international market. �From fertilizers and pesticides to weed control, we never use any product having chemicals. Our tea is cent per cent organic and that is why it has caught the fancy of foreign buyers,� he said.
Gogoi foresees a thriving global market for Assam�s organic tea in the days ahead. �All we need is market linkage, besides ensuring quality of the product,� he said.