Facts about Nepali Tea Industry

There is a lot of information available in the web about Nepali Tea Industry. There are multiple narratives that companies push about Nepali Tea Industry. Lets learn some facts without any bias.

  • When was Nepali Tea Industry Established?

Tea cultivation in Nepal started in the 1860s with the establishment of Ilam Tea Estate. First Private Tea Plantation started in late 1950.

  • When was first factory to process tea established in Nepal?

The first factory to process tea leaves in Nepal was set up in 1978.

  • When did small farmers start growing tea in Nepal?

Small farmers started growing teas privately after late 1970's.

  • Which district in Nepal is the leader in Orthodox Tea Production?

Illam district (which lies in the bordering Darjeeling region of India).

  • Which are main tea producer districts in Nepal?

Jhapa, Ilam, Panchthar, Dhankuta, Terhathum.
  • What types of Teas are produced in Nepal?

Broadly classifying, Nepal produces CTC and Orthodox (Loose Leaf Tea).

  • Which Country is the biggest buyer of Nepali Teas?

India is the biggest buyer of Nepali Teas.

  • What are the biggest challenges of Nepali farmers?

Nepali Tea Industry is facing multiple challenges ranging from certification, labor shortages and high cost of organic certification, to branding, failure to identify new export markets, and a lack of updated technology and expertise.
  • Are Nepali Tea Organically grown?

In May 2005, Nepal government banned the use of active pesticides for Tea farming. Local and regional bodies enforce organic production. Most small farmers produce teas organically. 
  • Why do we not see all teas from Nepal organic certified?
With the exception of some big tea estates, a huge portion of Nepali Tea comes from small farmers with less than 1 acre to up to 15 acres of plantation. Individual farmers have to pay over $9000 to initiate organic certification which they cannot afford to do. Annual fees are extra. 
  • How many small farmers/farm owners are there in Nepal?

As per statistics published by Nepal Tea and Coffee board in 2018, there are 9127 small farm owners in Nepal. Out of these farmers 86% farmers have less than 1 hectare tea farm. 

  • What is the statistics of farming types of Tea in Nepal?

 According to official statistics 60% farmers are involved in conventional farming, 30% are organic conversional (not certified) and 11% is Organic farming. 
  • What is the demography of  Tea production in Nepal?
Official statistics in 2018 indicates that among 3.1 million people involved in Tea industry in Nepal, around 0.6% are farm owners(including small farmers), 0.1% are permanent workers and 99.3% are temporary workers associated in different aspects of the tea trade.
  • How many tea producing factories are there in Nepal?
 According to official statistics in 2018 there are 113 of them.
  • Farmers from which district largely depend on tea as their main income?

Illam, around 67% people from Illam depend on tea industry as the main source of income.




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