Mineral-rich Chhattisgarh is planning to promote tea cultivation in the northern belt of the state, which is endowed with frosty picturesque pockets.
To start with, the state government has earmarked a 5-acre private land stretch for tea plantation at village Lalya in Mainpat, an enchanting tourist destination known as the “Shimla of Chhattisgarh”. The state government will offer all assistance to the farmer taking up tea cultivation there.
“The officials have been directed to fence the area to protect the plants and install solar pump for irrigation from the rivulet running alongside the land,” Chhattisgarh’s food and civil supplies minister Amarjeet Bhagat said. The project would be a benchmark for other farmers in Mainpat (in Sarguja district) to go for tea plantation, he added.
Chhattisgarh is emerging as a potential destination for tea plantation. Apart from Sarguja, Jashpur and Balrampur districts also have favourable pockets for taking up the crop. The state's Agricultural Research Centre has conducted a detailed study in theses pockets and have recommended that the climate of north Chhattisgarh is most suitable for tea.
The Centre is also exploring the possibilities of growing tea in the three districts. The agriculture department’s arm Krishi Vigyan Kendra had worked out a plan and formed a group of 30 progressive farmers to jointly start growing tea in Jashpur. Women self-help groups would also be involved in the project.
Chhattisgarh is currently ranked 17th in the country on tea production, which was started in the state by Sogara Ashram in Sarguja some six years ago. A processing unit was also set up in the Ashram. The project prompted the forest department to start growing tea as well and set up a tea nursery in the district.