Farmers in Ilam begin to pluck tea leaves

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By Kokila Dhakal,Ilam, Apr. 3: The work of plucking tea has started in Ilam, which is the hub tea production. Farmers and industrialists take the tea of the first stage, which is considered to be of the highest quality among the year-round products, with special importance.

The first flush tea is sold at a good price and the price of the first stage green leaves is also good. With the start of tea picking, the Gorkha Tea Estate of Sundarpani in Suryodaya Municipality started making tea a few days ago. Some other factories in the district have also started processing tea from Sunday.

General Secretary of the Central Tea Cooperative Federation Rabin Rai said that tea picking activities have started in tea plantations in the southern part of the district. According to Rai, tea picking will start in about a week in the plantations located in the upper part of the district.

"Even though tea shoots have come up in Maipokhari, Sankhejung and other areas, the picking will begin only after a day or two," Rai said. "This year, the first picking is a little later than last year." In previous years, the first picking of tea started from the end of Falgun to mid-Chaitra.

Jasbire Tea Processing Centre has said that tea picking and processing will start in a few days. This factory gathered the farmers and made them aware of the conditions to be followed before the first picking of tea and the quality of tea produced from it.

“Since the quality of tea is maintained from the moment of picking, it is appropriate to make the farmers aware before picking," said Sharad Subba, the owner of Jasbire Tea. "How to pick only one needle, how to pick two leaves and one needle, how it smells, tastes, good and quality tea. We have informed the farmers about what the price will be."

He said that the quality of this year's tea will be very different from the past. It is said that the lack of rain in winter this year has affected the production of tea. Usually, the first picking of tea started from the end of Falgun to the first week of Chaitra.

However, Subba said that since the weather is dry and there is no alternative system of irrigation in the hilly areas, it has affected the tea farmers. "It will take some time for tea picking to start in the entire district," Subba said. "If there is no rain this year, the tea farmers will have to suffer a lot of losses."

The Oasis Tea Factory located in Suryodaya Municipality has also started green tea processing. The tea prepared by businessmen from first picking is exported to third countries. In Ilam, tea with different names and flavours like Golden, Golden Paul, Silver, Golden Black and Green are produced.

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