Jhapa is the largest tea producing district of Nepal. Tea farming and estate is densely found here.
Thousands of farmers and labourers are relying their life sustenance on tea farming. But, the government has been turning deaf ear to address the challenges facing the sector, local tea producers accused.
General-Secretary of the Nepal Tea Producers Association Shiva Kumar Gupta said the government had not been providing chemical fertilizers for tea farming since 2021. Nepal has been annually earning millions of foreign currency by exporting tea produce.
He voiced his complaint that the tea producers had been compelled to import chemical fertilizers adopting illegal ways when the government stopped making its proper arrangement.
Those involved in tea production expressed their ire at the government for showing apathy towards providing chemical fertilizers for tea farming.
The tea produces had been asking for the government facilitation in accessing chemical fertilizers. Chemical fertilizers such as Urea, DAP, Potassium and Ammonia Sulfate are required for tea estate.
Gupta said the government used to distribute fertilizers before 2020. Since then, tea farmers had not received chemical fertilizers on quota, he added.
Tea producers also urged the National Tea and Coffee Development Board to take initiatives for addressing the issues related to chemical fertilizers. They also asked the agencies, including Agriculture Knowledge Centre, Agriculture Inputs Company and Salt Trading to play coordinating role in addressing the gaps.
Gupta said that fertilizers can be provided to small tea producers by registering cooperative dealer and to the big tea companies by stipulating quota through federal or provincial governments.
Tea farming is being done in an area of 10,500 hectares of land in the district. It annually needs 1,500 metric tons of chemical fertilizers, said Chief of National Tea and Coffee Development Board, Regional Office, Birtamodh, Indra Adhikari.
The government was not paying any heed to their demand for chemical fertilizers, commented Joint-Secretary of Tea Producers’ Association Binaya Kumar Goyal.(RSS)