Tea is one of the most consumed liquids in India and tea farming has great potential in the Asian market. This shrub is also consumed worldwide on a large scale according to their culture.
Tea farming in India
Tea falls under the category of shrubs and it is an evergreen shrub. Tea is mostly grown in Asian countries and it is native to Asia. It is a beverage prepared with milk and water and generally consumed hot. After water tea is the second largest liquid consumed by the world.
The biological name of the tea plant is “Camellia Sinse” and it is a flowering plant belonging to the Theaceae family. Tea leaves contain caffeine which is non-alcohol in nature and the life of a tea bush is 100 years. Its cultivation is mainly done in tropical and subtropical regions.
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Assam and West Bengal are the two largest tea-growing states in India. Assam tea is famous for its pungent smell and liquor quality whereas West Bengal tea is famous for its aroma. Due to the appreciated flavours, Indian tea is quite popular in the world and has a global demand. India exports tea to countries including Egypt, Russia, Pakistan, Iran, etc.
Major tea production states in India
India is one of the largest tea-producing countries In the world. In Assam, tea production contributes 15 % to the state’s economy. When it comes to total tea production Assam contributes 45% and West Bengal contributes 22.36%.
The tea plants can grow in a ball-shaped canopy when left in wild. It has rough and greyish colour bark. In commercial tea farming plants are pruned to 2 m only however they can grow up to the height of 9 meters. The leaves are 5 to 10 cm in size and dark green in colour with a pointed tip. Tea flowers grow in clusters and are white in colour.
Its flower contains 5-9 petals and these flowers are 4 cm in diameter. Tea flowers are generally pollinated by bees. Polyphenol compounds (30-40 %) present in it are the reason behind its astringent taste.
Tea varieties in India
Darjeeling tea, Assam tea, Kangra tea, Nilgiri tea, Annamalais tea, Karnataka tea, Munnar tea, Travancore tea, Wayanad tea.
How to start tea farming in India
By performing the best farming practices and good care one can start farming.
Tea plants can be grown in a wide range of soil but the ideal soil for the plants is slightly acidic with no calcium content. Soft light loamy soil having good iron content is one of the best soil for tea cultivation. Soil having sub-layers with good quality drip ability is considered for cultivation.
Too dry conditions are not suitable for its cultivation, humidity should be 80%. Tea can be grown on plains as well as at altitudes of 600 to 2200 m above sea level.
Soil pH level for plants
4.5 to 5 pH is ideal for tea farming. In order to avoid soil erosion plants should be planted along the lines of the contours.
Temperature for plants
20°C – 27°C
Rainfall required for tea plantation
125 cm to 150 cm annual rainfall is required for cultivation.
2 to 3 irrigation cycles are required for the tea crops. They are generally cultivated in rainfall areas and do not require any water in the monsoon and winter seasons.
Manure and fertilizer required for tea plantation
Every 15 days => 35 parts of ammonium phosphate + 15 parts of potassium sulphate + 15 parts of zinc sulphate then dissolve in 10 litres of water and apply to plants (900 plants).
Nitrogen = ammonium sulphate in March-April, Urea in may-June and calcium ammonium nitrate in november-December. Nitrogen is applied in the above-given forms.
Tea propagation method
Tea propagation can be done by seeds or by cuttings. Firstly seeds are obtained from the tea fruit and then soaked in the water to check the heaviness. Seeds that are drowned in the water to the bottom are selected for sowing. Tea seed germination takes place after 20 to 35 days and these fresh germinated plants are kept in polythene sleeves after 9 months they are used as planting materials.
To grow 1.25 lakh cuttings the nursery space required 0.15 hectares. For growing these plant cuttings 67 percent shade area is required in the nursery. Pruning the mother bushes induces ephemeral shoots in them. 3 cm of young tea shoots are collected along with the mother leaf from a parent plant. These shoots are then planted in polythene bags in a ratio of 3:1 along with a red sub-soil and sand mixture.
The callusing process starts within 4 to 6 weeks and root development is done in 10 to 12 weeks. After 80% of rooting shades are removed plants get hardened. Before planting the plants in the main field area these plants are left in the nursery for at least 6 to 8 months.
Remove all the unwanted plants and substances from the field. First level the land then create lateral and leader drains to prevent soil erosion. 12 to 15 months old plants are selected for planting and pits of 30 x 30 x 45 cm are dug for planting purposes. Carefully remove the polythene sleeves so that the plant should not get damaged. After planting the plant into the pit press the soil gently.
Tea planting season in India
June-July or September-october are considered for tea plantations.
Tea planting methods
Tea plants are planted by three methods: Up and down the system, Single hedge system and double hedge system.
Up and down system –
Tea plant spacing = 1.2 m x 1.2 m.
Plants per hectare = 6,800 plants
Plants per acre = 2200 plants
Single hedge system
Plant spacing = 1.2 m x 0.75 m.
Plants pe hectare = 10,800 plants
Tea plants per acre = 4200 plants
Double hedge system
Plant spacing = 1.35 m x 0.75 m x 0.75 m.
Tea plants pe hectare = 13,300 plants
Plants per acre = 5000 plants
Pest and disease in tea plants
Pest in plants – scarlet mite, thrips, nematodes, tea mosquito bug, scales, phassu borer, aphids, red spider mite, pink mite.
Disease – blister blight, black root, red root, brown root.
Solution – Fumigation of the soil with chemicals to control tea root diseases.
Tea plant harvesting
In tea, farming harvesting needs extensive labour. This plant gets ready for harvesting after 3-4 years from the sowing period.
3000 kg of processed tea can be obtained from the leaves.
Tea Farming Project Report of India
|Tea farming cost per acre
Pant price = Rs 7 per piece
Plants per acre = 5000 plants
Planting material cost = Rs 7 x 5000 plants
Planting material = Rs 35,000
Land preparation cost = Rs 15,000
Labour cost = Rs 25,000
Fertlizer cost (40 g per plant) = Rs 5000
Irrigation cost = Rs 10,000
Total cost 1st year = Rs 90,000
Cost for 4 years
Irrigation cost (10,000) + fertilizer cost (5,000) x 4 years = Rs 60,000
Now add labour cost + land prep cost + planting material cost = Rs 75,000
Total cost for 4 years = Rs 60,000 + Rs 75,000 = Rs 135,000
Tea farming profit
1 kg green tea leaves price = Rs 17 (average price)
Tea leaves produced after 4th year = 3000 kg
Profit = Rs 17 x 3000 kg = Rs 51,000
Net Profit = Profit – cost
Net Profit = Rs 51,000 – Rs 135,000
Net Profit = – 84,000
Yes, you did not make any profit instead you are in Rs 84,000 loss but don’t panic after the 4th year your profit will begin and you will start gaining more profit with the years by practising good tea farm management practices.
Note – This is the assumption of “Tea Project Report” and the price may vary according to the variety, market etc.
How long do tea seeds take to germinate?
Tea seeds need 20 to 35 days to germinate.
How long tea plant takes to get ready for harvesting?
After 4 years plants can be harvested.
How many tea plants can be planted per hectare?
6800 to 13300 plants per hectare can be planted?
What are the three tea planting methods?
1. Up and down system.
2. Single hedge system.
2. Double hedge system.
Is tea farming a profitable business?
Yes, it is profitable farming under suitable climate conditions. Tea plant needs 4 years to get ready for harvesting and after 4th year one can expect good returns.
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