Sustainable Tea Farming Programme

Organic and natural tea cultivation has emerged as the most popular farming activity in recent years. Assam is the only state in India where the highest  quality tea is produced. Natural tea farming is a new concept for the state of Assam. It is more beneficial than the conventional system of tea cultivation. Also, it has many positive impacts on human health.

Assam is the largest tea producing region in the world, with around 850 registered Big Tea Plantations, and 78350 small tea growers (Govt. of Assam Data), and an estimated 68,500 unregistered small tea growers. However, the total numbers are around 0.2 million, as per unofficial sources, which contributes almost 50% of the total tea produced in Assam.

On the other hand, the ever-increasing input costs of fertilizer, pesticides, and labor, as well as the low price realisation of green leaves, are factors for small tea growers seeking alternatives to sustain farm productivity and livelihoods. The increased use of agrochemicals, higher production costs, and deterioration of ecosystem health have led farmers to advocate for a shift away from traditional and external input use in tea cultivation and towards safe and sustainable organic production. In natural farming, neither chemical nor organic fertilisers are added to the soil. In fact, no external fertilisers are added to the soil or given to plants whatsoever.

The objective of the project is to promote natural tea cultivation among the small tea growers of Dibrugarh District. The project aims to grow an ecologically sustainable plantation, conservation of ecology and natural habitant without polluting soil, air and maintain sustainable tea production. The project is facilitating the capacity building of 100 small tea growers in Tingkhong Block under Dibrugarh district with handholding support for natural tea production and additional support for equipment and infrastructure.

The handholding support includes natural management with respect to nutrient, disease, pest, and agroforestry and conversion challenges, soil fertility, value chain upgradation, processing of handmade tea, tea marketing, product value addition, certification, etc.