PASHUPATINAGAR: Tea farmers in Ilam district are in the mood of quitting tea farming due to price dispute and lack of workers.
Hundreds of farmers have been contemplating this for lack of government support in the tea sector. The tea farmers said that they were disappointed in their work as the Tea and Coffee Development Board has done very little to encourage them for more production.
The tea farmers complained that the government has not provided them with a subsidised loan for tea farming. Proprietor of Gorkha Tea State, Uday Chapagain, said that Government of India provides up to 75 per cent in grant for tea farming in Darjeeling area.
Taking an example from India, he opined that Government of Nepal should also provide grant subsidy to the farmers to promote tea farming and sustain the business. He said, “Tea factory runs nine to 10 months in Tarai areas and up to eight months in hilly regions. But, the factories remain closed rest of the time.” In Nepal, around 15,000 farmers in Jhapa, Ilam, Panchthar, Dhankuta, Tehrathum and some other districts are engaged in tea production.
According to the National Tea and Coffee Development Board, there are 14,732 tea gardens in the country. As per a joint study carried out by the Central Bureau of Statistics and National Tea and Coffee Development Board, only five percent farmers and tea entrepreneurs have taken loan for commercial tea farming.
Spokesperson of the Board, Deepak Khanal, said that the board targets to provide technical support with policy-level decision for the cause of tea farmers. The Board has been providing support for promotion of tea farming as per the demand of the farmers, he added.