NAST to provide technical manpower to tea testing centre in Kanyam

Pashupatinagar (Ilam), May 15: The Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) is to provide technical manpower to the Tea Testing and Promotion Centre, Kanyam, Ilam.

The centre was built with the joint investment of the Suryodaya Municipality and Koshi Province. 

A total of Rs. 230 million was invested in the construction of the Tea Testing Centre. Milan Bhattarai, Chief Administrative Officer of Suryodaya Municipality, said that Koshi Province provided 80 per cent of the budget while Suryodaya Municipality provided 20 per cent to build the centre. 

Although the construction of the centre has been completed it lacks proper equipment and technicians for operation. 

After operating its regional office in Dharan, Sunsari, NAST has been studying the technical conditions of tea and other crops. NAST has held a meeting with the Suryodaya Municipality and tea farmers. 

Dr. Dilip Subba, Vice-Chancellor of NAST, said that NAST would provide the necessary technical manpower to Kanyam’s Tea Testing and Promotion Centre. “If equipment needed for tea testing is ready, NAST will provide the required technical manpower,” said Subba.

Dr. Rabindra Prasad Dhakal, Secretary, NAST, said that they had taken this initiative to figure out the shortcomings of Nepali tea.

In the discussion coordinated by NAST, the tea industrialists and farmers raised issues related to tea and other agricultural and food crops that needed to be solved. Tea industrialist, Uday Chapagain, said that Nepali tea should be organic and stressed the need for testing the soil and authentication of Nepali tea varieties.

He added that Nepali tea could only be exported if international buyers were brought to the centre.

Rana Bahadur Rai, Mayor of Suryoday Municipality, said that even though there were persistent problems in the tea sector, the provincial and federal governments had not helped in solving them. 

Although the municipality made policies for the tea sector, the provincial and federal government’s failure to make policies had added problems, he said.

Nabin Koirala, technician of Nepal Tea and Coffee Board Tea Expansion Project, said for the operation of the centre, equipment like sampling utensils and tea weighing machines were needed. 

Tea industrialists of Suryodaya Municipality have asked for the establishment of a Tea Testing and Tea Auction Centre. Most of the orthodox tea in Nepal is produced in Suryodaya Municipality. 

According to the statistics of the Nepal Tea and Coffee Development Board, tea is cultivated on 20,230 hectares of land in the fiscal year 2023/24. A total of 20.64 million kg of tea was produced in the fiscal year 2023/24. 

According to data from the Customs Department, a total of 10.65 million kg of tea was exported through which Nepal generated foreign currency worth Rs. 3.94 billion. Out of the total tea exported by Nepal, 97.80 per cent is exported to India, and the rest to other countries.  

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