Ilam, March 23: Farmers involved in organic tea farming in Ilam district have drawn attention of the government seeking support in different aspects including organic manure, fertilizers and technical supports to them. Of total 12,000 tea farmers registered in the district, only handful of them are found to have been involved in organic farming. Ilam produces the highest quantity of orthodox tea in the country, according to the government report. Govinda Prasad Dahal, Chairperson of the Central Tea Cooperatives Association, argued the government should take special initiatives to promote organic tea farming, considering its high demand.
According to Dahal, the organic tea fetches farmer a good price and Nepal can export the product. “The government should offer logistic support to the farmers, providing them trainings, manure and fertilizers,” said Dahal. He added that the government should also consider providing subsidy to the farmers coming in a group to certify themselves as the organic tea farmers. “Farmers here lack professional skills to cultivate organic tea. Moreover, the big factories here also do not offer a value for money,” shared a local tea farmer Kajiman Kagate.
The organic tea is being sold at Rs 40 to 60 per kg whereas the orthodox fetches half the organic tea. Entrepreneurs here bemoaned that the government were not attaching high importance as compared to other agricultural produces. Although Nepali tea is considered to be of high quality in the international markets, tea produces have been sold in the lower price in lack of a proper tea policy, shared promoter of Gorkha Tea Estate Udaya Chapagain.