The Tea industry in India is one of the largest in the world with over 13,000 gardens, and a total workforce of over two million people. So, there is wide scope for careers in the tea industry, which caters to a lucrative market internationally with the UK and US being the chief importers. Though it is not a very well known career option but a job in this industry can be interesting and lucrative as well.
About the industry
The Industry provides direct employment to more than two million people in India.
It is also a substantial foreign exchange earner and provides sizeable amount of revenue to the government. The total turnover of the Indian tea industry is Rs9000 crore. Presently, Indian tea industry is having 1692 registered tea manufacturers, 2200 registered tea exporters, 5548 number of registered tea buyers and nine tea auction centers.
Work in the tea industry includes plantation work, processing, auctioning, branding, marketing and research. Plantation work involves nurturing tea plants. The work also involves preparing soil, using fertilizers and supervising the prevailing conditions and plucking of leaves. Processing work involves crushing, tearing and curling of leaves in the factories. Then the tea is packed and dispatched to auction centers. The samples of tea from different plantations are tested, blended and branded by the tea connoisseur in the auction centers. Tea brokers generally have a sound knowledge of market. So, they auction the tea and marketing personnel market the final product.
There are a variety of jobs one can specialise in, within the tea industry. Tea tasting is one of the highly specialised areas of work. Research, plantation management, tea brokerage and consultancy are some of the other areas which can be specialized. One can work as a factory manager. The work involves supervision of all plantation work right from planting, plucking, processing to packing and transport of tea to auction houses. Beginners are given the position of assistants and with hands on experience they can get the job of manager. As a tea taster one has to differentiate between various flavours of tea to classify the samples according to their quality. Another work area in the tea management is research. Research is an integral part of the industry. The research is conducted by botanists, biotechnologists and other scientists. They study methods of producing disease-resistant and high yielding varieties of tea.
The Tea Research Association at Jorhat, Assam is a premier organisation in the field of research. Researchers are mostly employed by research associations and tea plantation owners. One can also work as a tea broker. There are brokerage houses in the country where the brokers test the various tea samples that come from the different tea gardens.
Those who wish to become a part of tea industry should have interest and liking for the profession. The field is most suited for nature lovers. One must have knowledge about the tea market. The tea tasters need to have keen taste buds and should be inclined to keep smoking and drinking in check. Leadership qualities and the ability to deal with labourers is an added advantage for plantation and factory managers.
Anybody with basic educational background can get into tea industry and pick up the skills required for the job. However, a degree in agricultural science or a BSc in botany, food sciences, horticulture or allied fields is preferred these days. The minimum qualification required to get admission in a training institute is class 10 or 10+2. These institutes teach tea production to processing, finance, and sales where tea tasting forms part of the curriculum.
The profession offers attractive perks and incentives including a comfortable lifestyle. Beginning with Rs15,000 per month for trainees, senior professionals can draw up to Rs40,000-50,00 per month.