TRA with a tech co develops fine leaf counting equipment using AI

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Kolkata, Sep 25 (IANS) Tea Research Association (TRA) has been focusing its research on the application of internet-based technologies and has developed an equipment using Artificial Intelligence (AI), in association with Agnext Technologies, for determining fine leaf count, an official said on Tuesday.

“In the tea sector, applications of internet-based technologies have been very limited. The use of emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, robotics have changed the way certain businesses operate,” said TRA’s Chairman Prabhat K. Bezboruah at its 54th Annual General Meeting.

Since nearly 50 per cent of the tea industry is dominated by the small tea growers and bought leaf factories, quality plays a major role in determining prices.

With no technology to give fine leaf count immediately, green leaf is bought on assumption and the small holders get a lower price, said TRA’s Secretary Joydeep Phukan.

“TRA has entered into an MoU with Agnext Technologies for introducing of the use of Artificial Intelligence in the tea industry. The initial trials have been very satisfactory,” Phukan told IANS.

“The product will be released to the industry by December 2018 on hire mode,” Phukan said.

Bezboruah, who also serves as the Chairman of Tea Board, said the use of data analytics at the auctions and other forms of tea disposal can throw up interesting facts which can be studied to reform the system.

He pointed out that the research body, funded by the Tea Board and the industry, underwent one of the most difficult phases in the last two years.

“With a lower allocation to Tea Board on R&D head by the Commerce Ministry , there was 60 per cent less disbursal of receivable funds from Tea Board for the year 2016 and 2017. This effectively reduced our expendable funds against our budget by 30 per cent and seriously hampered the functioning of the organisation,”he said.

The industry supports the research association to an extent of 65 per cent of the total budget of it, said Bezboruah, adding the government is expected to continue its support.



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