YI – Young India – is a branch of the CII – Confederation of Indian Industry – meant to develop leadership qualities in budding entrepreneurs. We recently opened a branch in our tea city and I attended one of their meetings on e-fugen alonside enterprising future generations. It was simply a mind boggling experience to see these young kids bringing out business ideas and this is where I found the solution to India’s fledging tea industry.
India is the diabetic capital of the world – the highest number of diabetes patients by any count – simply because we are a sugar producing country. We are hooked to sugar because milk was our staple drink and both are good partners. Every occasion was an opportunity, and combinations were aplenty to suit the occasions like any other soft or hard drinks of the world.
The British added a dash of tea to it to take care of their excess production of the stuff on Indian soil, which was the unwanted byproduct of their much-wanted pirated Chinese crop, which at one time was as high as 75% of the total volume of imports. And thus was the milk tea culture born in India.
A simple change of scene from CTC to Pu’er will take care of both the Indian body as well as all the present ills of Indian tea industry. If you consider the swath of tea-growing area of present day Yunnan it extends to our tea town of Siliguri which is handling or centering one billion kilos of tea annually from Assam, Bengal, Bihar, Nepal, Darjeeling, Sikkim and Bangladesh.
I read only yesterday that the discovery of a 35 million year old fossil in Pu’er recently proved the nativity of tea in this area and simultaneously sugar was equally native to our land. Pu’er tea breaks down sugar in the human body as no other food can, and was considered medicine not long ago.
Along with BCIM – Bangladesh, China, India & Myanmar – we have BBIN – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India & Nepal – and our main crop is tea. Let us work on this idea to solve many of our local, regional, national and international problems highlighted by the BBC recently about the present status of the tea industry, whose problems are snowballing fast.
Change is the way of nature, and research institutions are a tool in the hands of business and industry to safeguard the health of society and save it from many angles – economically, commercially and technically.
Let us further this thought in various forums since what tea is for apart from pleasure – a medicine and the second cheapest beverage on Mother Earth.