Millennium Post

App to assist small tea growers of Bengal for production boost

Darjeeling: Small tea growers are all set to become tech-savvy. An mobile phone app was recently launched in Jalpaiguri by the Tea Board of India. Different issues pertaining to manufacturing, fertilizers, pesticides along with problems can be sorted out through this app.

The app has been developed so that Indian small tea growers are at par with international market standards.

"Everyone uses smart phones these days, including the small tea growers. This app will help them in every way vis-a-vis tea cultivation. A new horizon will open up for the small tea growers through this app," said Bijoygopal Chakrabarty, Secretary of the All India Small tea Growers' Association.

Citing an example, Chakrabarty said if there is a pest attack or a disease outbreak, the grower can upload pictures on the app. Immediately, he will be given advice on what the pest is or the disease, including the remedial measures through the app.

Daily weather updates including rain, temperature can be obtained through this app. How one has to tend to the tea bushes as per climatic conditions all these advices will be given through the app. The app will act as a notebook for the small tea growers, he said.

"Small tea growers do not follow a standard system. If they follow the proper system and instructions yield can be doubled. Quality will also improve. Small tea growers contribute to 50 per cent of the gross production of tea in India," said Sandip Ghosh of the Indian Tea Board.

An NGO from Netherland has tied up with the Indian Tea Board to impart training.

"We will provide support to small tea growers. In case of major pest attacks or disease outbreaks we will even send experts to the tea growers to mitigate the problems" said Ranjan Sarkar, Asia Coordinator.

Altogether, 60,000 small tea growers from West Bengal, Assam and Tamil Nadu will be initially brought under the smart growers training programme through the app. The target is to develop 10,000 smart tea growers in Bengal alone in the next three years.

At present, there is over 1.40 lakh acres under small tea cultivation in West Bengal. There are around 40,000 growers who employ another 50,000 workers in the state.

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