Due to the government-enforced lockdown, the tea estates in Ilam District have lost a sizable income during the peak season to pluck the first flush. Tea factory owners failed to pay the tea farmers and workers.
With the enforcement of the nationwide lockdown to contain the further spread of coronavirus infection, the tea estates in Ilam District have lost a sizable income during the peak season to pluck the first flush.
Farmers could neither take the tea leaves for processing nor supply processed tea to the market. The first flush, which gets readied around the beginning of April, is considered the best quality tea. This year the farmers could not pluck high-quality first flush due to lockdown. There was a huge loss to farmers and factories, proprietor of Jasbire Tea Processing Center Sarad Subba of Ilam Municipality-4 said.
We could not supply tea despite demand from other countries, he bemoaned. "We supply our products to China and other third countries. But, we have not sent yet this year as the international market is at a standstill," Subba added.
Tea factory owners have also failed to pay the tea farmers and workers as well. Chief of Gorkha Tea Estate, Udaya Chapagain, shared that their loss is huge as tea factories remained closed for days. He, however, claimed that he was regularly paying workers and farmers even in the lockdown despite his products not reaching the market.