Tea major eyes China

The growing domestic demand for black tea in China is what Amalgamated Plantations Private Limited, the second largest producer of the beverage in India with 21 garden in Assam alone, is planning to cash in on.

“We have sent a small consignment of black tea last month to a Chinese government company. This is a just a start-up consignment and if the feedback is good, there might be bigger orders,” the company’s managing director, Deepak Atal, told The Telegraph today. “Their norms for accepting tea from outside are very tough and we are looking into it.”

Atal, who recently visited China to attend a tea festival and international tea convention, said there was a separate session on black tea at the convention, indicating the importance accorded to black tea in that country.

“The younger generation in China is showing a great liking for black tea and this is what is motivating us to look towards that country,” he said, adding that the consignment they sent to China comprised CTC and orthodox varieties produced in the company’s Assam gardens.

The company, which has 21 gardens in Assam and four in Bengal, produced 32.34 million kg of tea in 2012, of which the state contributed 28.51 million kg.

He said a delegation from China had visited tea gardens of different companies, including Amalgamated, in India earlier this year.

According to 2012 figures released by International Tea Committee, China tea production is 1,761 million kg, which is 38.9 per cent of the world produce. Similarly, China exported 321.79 million kg, 18.64 per cent of the world export level.

Having surpassed India as the leading tea producer in 2006, the neighbouring country has been producing more than 500 million kg of green tea since 2001, which increased to 1,046 million kg in 2010.

Sources say China grows tea in more than 10,000 holdings and boasts production of the largest variety of teas in the world. Some of the notable types of Chinese teas include green, white, oolong, black and smoked black (a type of green tea), among others.

The production in China grew at 2.38 per cent during the nineties of the last century and registered 8 per cent growth between 2001 and 2010.

Retrieved from – http://www.telegraphindia.com/1130705/jsp/northeast/story_17082556.jsp#.UdZtCTsqdsk



Wind Under the Wings Award

APPL received the Special Sanctuary “Wind Under the Wings” Award for “their farsighted decision to turn Hathikuli into an organic plantation, a step that took great courage and conviction”. The award ceremony, attended by the Managing Director – Mr Deepak Atal and Manager, Hathikuli – Mr Daljeet Singh, was held at Mumbai on 30th November 2012

APPL targeting organic tea market

Eyeing European markets for export and tying up with large format retail stores in India, Amalgamated Plantations Pvt Ltd (APPL), a Tata Enterprise, is trying to capture large part of the Rs 640-crore organic tea market in India.

“The organic tea business is growing by 15 per cent every year. For us, that is the only way to go. In the export market, we are targeting European countries like Germany and Japan besides US and UK,” Deepak Atal, managing director of the second largest tea producer in India, told reporters here today.

In the Indian market, they are tying up with large retail chains like Walmart, Nilgiri and Spencer”s.

“Consumers are now more health conscious than ever before and when we market it rightly with these retail chains, the scope in organic tea market is tremendous,” he said.

In 2011 their Hathikuli Tea Estate spread across 687 hectares in Assam”s Golaghat district near Kaziranga National Park was certified as organic. It was recently awarded at the Sanctuary Asia Wildlife Awards in Mumbai for protecting biodiversity.

“Initially the production fell from 8 lakh kg to 3.5 lakh kg because we were not using fertilizers to control pests. But now the production has started increasing gradually and in the next 2-3 years we will return to the 8 lakh figure,” Atal said.

For marketing in the European market, the tea estate is also in the process of being certified as a Rain-forest Alliance (RA) for its eco-friendly practices.

From the last one year, their two other tea estates in Assam – Diffloo and Teok – have been using only bio- fertilizers.

“But there has been no drop in yield. So from next year we will extend bio-fertilizers to all estates in a phased manner. It will reduce the chemical load on soil and increase its productivity and health in the long term,” the official said.

At present, APPL has 21 tea gardens in Assam and 4 in West Bengal.

Along with tea, they have been growing spices like pepper, ginger, turmeric, etc as multi-crop plantation.

“We are now installing a food processing unit near Guwahati for our agri-business. Some of these products will be sold as our brands while others will be sold to the large retail chains,” Atal said.

Retrieved from – http://news.in.msn.com/business/article.aspx?cp-documentid=251604632


‘Organic’ tea estate helps save wildlife

When Deepak Atal, managing director of Amalgamated Plantations Pvt Ltd (APPL), thought of converting Hathikuli tea estate in Assam to an organic one in 2007, his idea was to improve the ecology of Kaziranga National Park, bordering the tea garden.

Five years down the line, the organic tea garden contributes to the greater biodiversity of the world heritage wildlife sanctuary by banning pesticides. At the same time, it is reviving its growth in production slowly.

The tea estates maintained by APPL (largely in Assam and four gardens in West Bengal) are the only surviving plantations links of the Tata Group.

According to Atal, tea production in Hathikuli went down from 8 lakh kg in 2007-08 to 3.5 lakh kg in 2009-10. But, it has signs of improvement of late.

“The Hathikuli estate produced 4.5 lakh kg tea last fiscal and it is expected to produce 6 lakh kg tea by FY14,” he said.

Spread over 467 hectares of tea growing area, the estate has in-house bio production and vermi-composting units for organic formulations for soil nutrition, foliage growth and integrated pest management.

The vermi-compost production unit at the estate has an annual capacity of 1100 million tonnes a year, which is touted to be one of the largest such units in the North Eastern region.

Atal pointed out that the company is planning to market its organic tea and organic pepper produced at the Hathikuli estate through modern-format retail stores. “We have already tied up with Walmart and Nilgiris for this,” he said.

The project has been given away the “Winds Under the Wings Award” by Sanctuary Asia on November 30 to recognize APPL’s efforts to save wildlife.

Reference – http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/features/organic-tea-estate-helps-save-wildlife/article4171459.ece