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‘Tea business will survive covid-19’

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With Nepal in a nation-wide lockdown due to covid-19 Rijan Ojha from from Agriterra fills us in with how the tea business is affected. He is optimistic however: “the tea business will survive as this is the second preferred drink after water. I am sure that the online medium of trade will replace the traditional trading approach.”

How are you coping with covid 19 in Nepal?
We are in nation-wide lockdown for 3 months. The transportation and logistics are not functioning. Which has created challenges for movement of tea and other agricultural products. The government is slowly lifting some restrictions, and people are expecting new normal conditions.

What do you normally do when it comes to the production of tea at this time of the year?
This is the period of second flush harvest for farmers. Most of the tea factories are in operation but the problem is they are just processing and storing the tea in the factory due restriction in export. The farmers are not receiving payment on time because the tea factory couldn’t sell their tea in the market.

How does covid 19 influence your tea making process?
When it comes to the tea making process it hasn’t been affected a lot but the major issue is on logistics and transportation. If I reflect back on the first flush of harvest, the first flush harvest has been delayed by 2-3 weeks. It doesn’t look like a lot of delay but this was the time when farmers could sell their tea at highest, so it has directly impacted the highest price the farmers could fetch.

How does it influence your business?
Many tea companies couldn’t sell their product due to the challenge in logistics and transportation. Farmers couldn’t get money on time, which has impacted their livelihood. Tea cooperative couldn’t pay the loan on time due to low volume of transactions. The cooperatives and companies are lobbying with the government to ease the trade of agricultural products.

How do the farmers cope with the current state of world economics? Can their businesses survive?
Yes, we are sure that the tea business will survive as this is the second preferred drink after water. I am sure that the online medium of trade will replace the traditional trading approach.

Read Rijan’s first post: https://www.storiesabouttea.com/meet-rijan-ojha-from-agriterra-in-nepal/

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