GUWAHATI, Aug 29 - The Tocklai Tea Research Institute of the Tea Research Association (TRA), which is one of the oldest tea research institutes in the world, has started overseas consultancy services on tea and other beverages, besides domestic consultancy services on tea processing and manufacturing.
It needs mention here that over the past three years, Tocklai has been facing acute fund crunch due to drastic reduction in the flow of funds from the Union Commerce Ministry and the Tea Board of India.
TRA secretary Joydeep Phukan told this newspaper that apart from scaling up the pesticides and other testing services at Tocklai and Kolkata, Tocklai Tea Research Institute has started consultancy services on tea processing and manufacturing called the TMAS. Tocklai has also started providing overseas consultancy services on tea and other beverages.
Phukan said a company called West Limited dealing in variety of food-related products from Ekaterinburg of Russia sought the help of the scientists of Tocklai. Dr Pradip Tamuly, head of biochemistry department of Tocklai, visited Russia between August 12 and 17 to provide processing and manufacturing consultancy on the production of willow weed leaf which is called �ivan-rea� leaf in Russia. After the visit, the Russian company has sought for more visits from the Tocklai experts next year and plans engagements on a long-term basis.
The Singha Group of Thailand, which is a reputed producer of quality beer and other products in Thailand, has written to Tocklai requesting consultancy on producing tea in northern Thailand.
With more countries starting to produce and upgrade their tea production, inquiries from Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Turkey have come to Tocklai for providing scientific consultancy services. Many African countries, which produce tea, are keen on taking help from Tocklai. These endeavours are expected to open up new revenue generation opportunities for Tocklai.
The scientists of Tocklai are the most sought after for their knowledge on tea. In the FAO Intergovernmental Group on Tea, where all tea producing and consuming countries participate, most of the working groups are coordinated by India and the Indian experts in such cases are mostly from Tocklai, Phukan said.