Hathikuli Tea Shoppe, a greet for tea connoisseurs in Guwahati

Though Assam has almost 200 years of tea history, the concept of Tea Shoppe, or a Tea Boutique, which gives the connoisseurs of the health drink, a wide-range of high-quality products, is yet to pick up in the region.

The Amalgamated Plantations Private Limited, a Tata enterprise, recently opened its first tea boutique — Hathikuli Tea Shoppe — on its GS Road office premises in Guwahati, has given the elites the opportunity to relish good quality organic tea.

Hathikuli Tea Shoppe

The tea shoppe, which is the first of its kind in the capital city of Assam, is sure to bring about a change in the tea drinking habit of the people. So far, common people had the propensity to buy any tea brand off-the shelves in departmental stores.

Now, the Hathikuli initiative will encourage a lot of others to open up similar ventures in Guwahati, or other smaller cities of the region. Every tea connoisseur drinks tea in their own taste. And slowly, they get glued to a particular brand.

So far, Hathikuli garden had its own retail counter in the premises of the garden, owned by the Amalgamated Plantations Private Limited, the second largest tea producer in the country. It is one of the pioneers of organic tea in India.

The Amalgamated Plantations Private Limited, which is the new avatar of Tata Tea, owns two-dozen tea gardens in Assam and North Bengal. The group has one fully organic garden — the Hathikuli tea estate, near the Kaziranga National Park in Upper Assam’s Golaghat district.

Occupying a total area of 687 hectares, the estate produces stylish and well rolled leaf. Hathikuli’s conversion to organic began in 2007 and was finally completed in March 2011. OneCert Asia is the certifying body for Hathikuli T.E. It is accredited by APEDA (Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority) under NPOP (National Programme for Organic Production).

The organic tea estate is committed to the objectives of organic farming as defined by the International Federation of Agricultural Movements (IFOAM). The workers at the garden have been made to understand that its main objective is to produce food and beverages of high nutritional value and quality and encourage and enhance biological cycles involving micro-organisms, soil flora and fauna, plants and animals. The garden has the distinction and capability of producing black CTC, Orthodox and Green tea.

And because of its strong organic credential, the group is now a key player in the Rs 640-crore organic tea market in the country. It has been reported that the organic tea market is growing at the rate of 14 to 15 percent in India. In addition to the domestic market, India is also a major exporter of organic tea to Europe and North America.

And, opening of the organic tea shoppe in Guwahati will enlighten people about the positive side of the macrobiotic produce; it is natural that more and more people would change their choice.

The management of Hathikuli Tea Shoppe should now engage experts at the outlet to enlighten the customers on benefits of organic tea drinking.

Reference – http://www.indiatea.co.in/hathikuli-tea-shoppe-a-greet-for-tea-connoisseurs-in-guwahati/

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Tea goes green, Planter push for organic cuppa

Hathikuli Tea Shoppe, Amalgamated Plantations Private Limited’s first tea boutique

Hathikuli Tea Shoppe, Amalgamated Plantations Private Limited’s first tea boutique

India’s second largest tea producer Amalgamated Plantations Private Limited has set its sights on becoming a significant player in the Rs 640-crore organic tea market in the country.

Talking to The Telegraph here today, Prabir Banerjee, the chief operating officer of the company’s agri business division, said, “The organic tea business is growing by 15 per cent every year and we are trying to capture a large part of the Rs 640-crore market in India. In the export market, we are targeting European countries like Germany and Japan besides the US and the UK.”

The global organic food and beverage market is valued at US$ 57.2 billion.

The company recently opened its first tea boutique — Hathikuli Tea Shoppe — on its GS Road office premises here.

According to company sources, the retail outlet, which has been witnessing a good footfall since it opened its doors to the public on Monday, will provide a one-stop shopping experience to buyers of quality tea. It offers different varieties/grades of organic Assam tea, including CTC, orthodox and green.

“The shop is more about promoting Assam tea than earning profits. The state produces the best quality tea but its people do not get to taste it. This is a step towards that direction,” a company official said.

Banerjee said the company would certainly think of setting up more tea boutiques selling Assam teas in other cities of the country.

Previously known as Tata Tea, Amalgamated has its operations spread across 24 tea estates in Assam and North Bengal, covering 24,000 hectares and employing approximately 30,000 workers.

Officials say one of the primary reasons behind the shift to the organic sector is the premium market that commands high prices. Moreover, organic tea cultivation is seen as a solution to restore the soil ecosystem or increase the continuously depleting productivity of soil in tea estates after years of exposure to chemical fertilisers. It is also seen as an answer to climate change as well as a means to generate more employment, as organic tea production is a more labour intensive process and entail no health risks for the workers.

Sources said it took almost four to five years to convert a garden into an organic one that resulted in tremendous crop loss. Only big players can absorb such losses and stay in the organic tea business.

Amalgamated currently has one fully organic garden — the Hathikuli tea estate located within the confines of the Kaziranga National Park in Assam’s Golaghat district.

“Amalgamated can consider making more gardens organic at a later stage depending on the market demand,” Banerjee said.

Reference – http://www.telegraphindia.com/1130613/jsp/northeast/story_17001342.jsp#.UblW_ecqdsl

State to have procurement centres soon for horticultural crops

GUWAHATI, Dec 12: In a bid to develop the marketing of horticultural crops of the region, State Agriculture minister Nilomoni Sen Deka today announced that procurement centres would be set up in the State soon.

Inaugurating the Inter-State Horti Sangam, 2011 at the NEDFi Convention Centre in Guwahati, the minister said, “Marketing facilities of horticultural crops of the State are not too developed due to lack of procurement centres. Moreover, farmers do not get the actual price for their products due to non-availability of procurement centres. We are going to set up procurement centres by the next fiscal. Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has also planned to initiate a Rs-50 crore project next year for developing the horticulture sector of the State.”

Nilomoni Sen Deka further said, “At present the production of the State is very high but to store all the products there is lack of sufficient cold storage facilities. So, we will set up new cold storage so that products do not perish. We will give loans and subsidy to the private sector for development of the horticultural sector. We have asked the Asian Development Bank to formulate all the works.” He added, “Just as there is a technology mission in the hill areas, likewise there will be a horticulture mission in Assam soon.”

The Inter-State Horti Sangam has been organized by the National Horticulture Board. On this occasion, the Zonal Director of North East Horticulture Board, RK Sharma, said: “The objective of organizing this event is to create a platform to promote marketing of horticultural products by way of participation of the farmers. This will provide an opportunity to the farmers to learn from each other’s performance and experience.”

For quick transportation of containers containing horticultural products, the Corporation of India and the National Horticulture Board will start the Horticulture Express Train from January 13 next year. This train will have 90 containers or coaches. Initially the train will run from Bhusawal in Maharashtra to New Delhi and after some days one container will be brought to Assam on experimental basis. Inside the train the pressure will be maintained in such as a way as to protect the products from perishing.

The Inter-State Horti Sangam will continue till December 14 and participants from across the Northeast and West Bengal are taking part here. All horticulture products are organic  and include oranges, ginger, passion fruit, kiwi, ber, fig, pineapple, King chilli, orchids, roses and cymbidium.

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