Tata Global Beverages (TGB) had announced Project Sustainable Plant Protection Formulation (S-PPF) in August 2014 with the vision to promote ecological agriculture and Non-Pesticidal Management (NPM) in tea production in India. To fulfill the commitment, TGB is encouraging its suppliers to use ecological practices such as bio-pesticides, biological agents, tillage etc. in their farms. Availability of adequate scientific and technical knowledge will be critical for achievement of this goal. As a step in this direction, TGB has initiated research and development under Project Sustainable Plant Protection Formulation (S-PPF) to evaluate the viability of biological or Non-Pesticidal Methods for plant protection of tea crops.
The project is a collaborative effort between Tata Group companies – Tata Global Beverages, Rallis and Tata Chemicals. Field trials on Plant Protection Formulations from plant extracts were initiated in 2013. Hathikuli estate of APPL, an associate company of TGB, has been producing organic certified tea for the past three years. The learning from these initiatives has been consolidated, and Project S-PPF will evaluate and enhance this learning further.
The project endeavour will be to develop a portfolio of bio-pesticides and NPM Package of Practices (PoP) that can be used in tea crops, as a step towards eliminating the use of chemical pesticides. Field trials and area based pilot projects will be initiated at TGB associate plantation companies in North India (APPL) and South India (KDHP). Project S-PPF will collaborate with other projects or initiatives by the tea industry that has similar objectives.
Through this initiative TGB seeks to benefit the entire tea industry through dissemination of scientific and technical knowledge about a NPM approach for tea crop production. The project also has the potential to be expanded and deployed for other crops. This will also encompass promoting behavioural changes in tea producers towards rejuvenation of eco-system including soil health, crop protection, bio-diversity etc. TGB will work with Tea Board, tea industry and independent expert to evaluate the findings and develop an appropriate road map.