•      Thu Jul 25 2024

Organic tea farming campaign in Suryodaya municipality

Ilam tea garden

Ilam, March 21: It has been over six years since Ram Prasad Rai of Suryodaya municipality-9, Dhode started cultivating organic farming of tea.

He is daily producing 80 kilograms of tea from the tea estate stretching over 16 ropani of land.

“We give Rs 101 per kg to Sundarpani Agriculture Cooperative Society which later sell it to Gorkha Tea Estate at one rupee profit margin”, Rai said, adding, “The minimum support price of tea fixed by the municipality is Rs 40 per kg, but being organic our tea produce is getting more than Rs 100”.

Not only Rai but also all other farmers of Sangpang Tole Dhode are using cow and goat manure by avoiding the use of chemical fertilizers.

Man Bahadur Rai, a local farmer, said, “The organic tea does not harm the health and the selling price is also good. So, it motivates farmers to switch over to organic farming”.

The families of Binod Moktan, Bimal, Sushila, Ram Prasad, Arwalakshi, Purna and Tara Rai of this settlement are busy in their tea estate from dawn to dusk. Man Bahadur said the first batch of tea harvesting starts from last week of March.

The fertile time for the production of green tea is six months from March to September.

The municipality has run a campaign to promote farmers to adopt organic tea farming when tea production was not exported to the world market due to lack of quality.

As shared, there has been a challenge in the export of Nepali tea in India and other countries due to quality issue.

“Earlier, India used to conduct CFL test while buying our tea, but now it has started doing other tests”, said Mayor Rana Bahadur Rai.

If tea is not of organic brand, there is less likely to sell the produce, he said, adding farmers should make the produce pesticide-free and quality realizing the challenge in sale.

Mayor Rai further said the municipality is distributing hand-held tea picking machines to 300 farmers to improve the tea harvesting.

The Tea Testing and Research Centre, which was built to ‘brand’ tea and test ‘T’, is also going to be operational in the next few months.

The slogan of the long-term vision of the municipality is ‘Prosperity of Suryodaya Municipality, Organic Agriculture, Eco-Tourism and Economic Equality’.

Tea farming is being done in a total of 12,066 hectares of land in Nepal. Ilam is the largest tea producing district in the country having 6,995 tea estates. #nepal

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