The Department of Forests of Government of Tamilnadu raised tea plantations in Nilgiris, during the year 1968 and subsequently, it was converted into a corporate sector, during 1976. Activities of TANTEA are mainly related to Tea production and Marketing, creating employment opportunities for Sri Lanka repatriates with a view to resettle and productively employ them in tea plantations in India, as per Sasthri- Srimavo Agreement of 1964. The main activities include.
ABSORPTION OF REPATRIATES
The Assistant High Commissioner of India (Rehabilitation Cell) in Sri Lanka, in consultation with the Government, sent suitable repatriated families to TANTEA for resettlement in the tea plantations in the Nilgiris District. As per the rehabilitation programme, so far, 2331 families have been absorbed in this Corporation. Thereby, we have provided an assured employment to nearly 5600 permanent workers and seasonal employment for about 2000 casuals. Out of the total strength, more than 50% are woman workers in TANTEA. The labourers and their Dependants, numbering 25,000, are settled in the Corporation’s tea plantations.
The Nilgiris district has the reputation of being one of the finest tea growing tracts in the World. In the field of tea-crop management, raising seedlings had been the trend, before TANTEA started raising clones. TANTEA is a pioneer in having raised extensive clonal plantations which is one of the few largest Clonal holdings in the World. Planting was carried out in four phases , as given below:
The establishment of tea in the grass lands (Phase II and III area) requires special mention, which were once considered as unsuitable for raising tea by the traditional planting companies. The Tamilnadu Tea Plantation corporation Limited is the second largest holding in Tamilnadu and the fourth in the entire South India. Although tea bushes of TANTEA are young, on account of scientific tea culture, yet TANTEA has crossed the Nilgiri average of made- tea per hectare. Elevation stratification of clonal crop of tea in different divisions of TANTEA is highly productive and economic land- use, conferring the benefits to nearly 25000 for peaceful and settled life
The corporation is meeting its financial commitments from internal sources by way of sale of made-tea, tea waste, Seedlings, etc. Generally, the bank finance has been availed from NABARD through a consortium of Banks for the plantation development expenditure, civil works, machineries, roads, etc. TANTEA also gets share capital and interest subsidy from the Central Government and also through the State Government.
TANTEA is pioneer in establishing clonal tea over extensive areas. Standardizations of various agricultural inputs (fertilizers, pesticides, growth promoters, etc.,) has been made for seedling crop population and continuous research is being carried out to get optimum yield in view of changing climatic conditions in TANTEA areas on varied elevation and associated biodiversity. Studies into biology, tea-crop requirement are essential to reasonably estimate the inputs for clones. The tremendous experience gained during the last three decades in raising clonal tea in this corporation, as well as considerable accumulation of literature on tea by the Government of India, and various other tea developmental agencies is making it possible to adopt new research and development initiatives in TANTEA areas.
The corporation has formulated new schemes, to step up productivity, by supplementary irrigation and improving soil health and moisture regimes of different divisions. The adoption of soil conservation measures and intercropping pepper over an area of 2000 hectares are other measures which are improving the production and productivity of TANTEA plantation areas.
As per government of India’s direction , 75 % of the tea production has to be sold only through auction sales. TANTEA is sending its made-tea to various auction centers, namely Cochin, Coimbatore and Coonoor. Apart from selling the tea in auction centers, TANTEA has recently entered into the retail sale market. In order to make the retail sale effective and agreement has been executed between M/s. BPCL to sell Tantea teas through BPCL network, teas are packed in attractive pickings (pouches) and sold through Co-operative super markets and various other retail outlets. At present, there are 134 TANTEA Dealers selling TANTEA products in Tamilnadu.