Tea industry fears hurdles to PPC implementition
The Plant Protection Code (PPC) is a comprehensive document, developed by the Tea Board, which lays down the manner in which chemicals are to be used safely in tea cultivation.
Sensing several challenges in the way of implementation of the Plant Protection Code (PPC) from January 1, 2015, the Consultative Committee of Plantation Association (CCPA), the apex body of planters, said that the Tea Board and the Commerce Ministry need to be sensitised about the hurdles faced by them. They wanted implementation to happen over a gradual manner.
This comes at a time major buyers such as Tata Global Beverages and Hindustan Unilever have sought confirmation on the immediate implementation, voicing concern that they were the ones who remained vulnerable to regulatory action by the State government for the teas that they were sold in packaged form.
The PPC is a comprehensive document, developed by the Tea Board, which lays down the manner in which chemicals are to be used safely, in tea cultivation. Its implementation was deferred from September 1, 2014, to January 1, 2015.
The CCPA had called a meting of all the stakeholders recently to review the status. “It was nobody’s intention to delay the implementation, it was pointed out. However, there were certain critical areas which needed action, it was argued. Tea growers felt that the list of chemicals and pesticides (plant protection formulations) should be expanded.
Also, some chemicals removed earlier had to be restored as they were crucial in tea cultivation. Quite a few of the pests had not been attended at all by the PPC,” the industry said noting that the PPC was not aligned to the list of key chemicals allowed by the European Union.
The CCPA also highlighted the need to give attention to the small tea growers’ sector, whose importance was growing in tea cultivation.
Aiming to achieve sustainability through Good Agricultural Practices, including integrated pest management by gradually reducing dependence on chemicals, the Tea Board had issued a directive under the Tea Marketing (Control) Order, 2003, in March. The regulator said that the industry was facing increased challenges by the way of awareness among consumers on the need for using safer, healthier and more environment-friendly products.
It may be recalled that Greenpeace had released a report alleging presence of pesticide residues in Indian tea. The Tea Board and industry had refuted the allegations.