drone tea
Image ~ Jeremy Judkins/YouTube

The Assam Company India Ltd on Friday said it is aiming to increase its output by nearly fivefold to 50 million kg within next five years with introduction of advanced technologies.

The company acquired by Abu Dhabi-based BRS Ventures a year ago and currently has 15 tea gardens, is looking to utilise artificial intelligence, including smart drones, in the field of tea farming to achieve its target.

“Our aim is to bring technology and innovation at the forefront of the tea industry. This will not only impact the lives of 26,000 farmers at our estates, but the entire workforce employed in the tea sector across the country,” BRS Ventures Chairman B R Shetty said at a press conference here.

The company is optimistic that focus on enhancing the lives of the farmers and upgrading the production facilities by optimizing efficiencies will see a remarkable change in the Indian tea industry in the days to come, he added.

“Our target is to increase the capacity from the current 11 million kilograms to 50 million kilograms in the next five years. Assam Company India is doing a pilot project with advanced technologies for tea farming that involves drones for spraying fertilizers and artificial intelligence.

“After successful completion of the pilot, the farming solution will be offered to the other tea estates in the country without any capital investment from those gardens,” Shetty said.

He, however, clarified that usage of technologies will not result in job cuts and all the current 26,000 employees will continue to be on the company’s rolls with the government-fixed minimum wage of Rs 350 per day.

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The technological solutions are being introduced in the Assam Company India gardens in association with the US-based agri-tech company Smart Farms Inc.

Established in 1839, the Assam Company India has initiated multiple initiatives to improve the lives of the farmers such as better accommodations, clean water solutions, education, vocational training and building hospitals in the tea gardens.

“We will build a 500-bedded super-speciality hospital inside the Borborooah tea garden of the company. It will provide free medical facilities to the farmers. The company is in early stages of completing the land formalities,” Shetty said.

He also informed that BRS Ventures will construct tourist resorts inside their tea gardens and promote those as “tea-tourism” to the domestic and overseas visitors.

Assam Company India was acquired by the BRS Ventures last year through NCLT-monitored bidding for a total valuation of Rs 1,214 crore (rpt) Rs 1214 crore after the domestic company became insolvent.

The BRS Ventures is a private business house holding various investment interests in agriculture, technology, research, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, catering and education sectors. PTI TR


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