SWOT window for garden investors

Siliguri, Jan. 13: The Jalpaiguri district administration has decided to conduct a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis of each of the 12 closed tea estates in the Dooars and approach prospective financiers with relevant data.

“So far there have been sporadic developments with some companies expressing interest in procuring some of these closed tea estates,” said Vandana Yadav, the district magistrate of Jalpaiguri. “In case of Kanthalguri, there was a noticeable progress but the new company finally backed off, when it came to know the liabilities, the present status of the plantations and other details.”

Yadav said work was expected to start in a month. “The Tea Board of India is funding the study and the money will probably come in February after which we will commence work.”

So long, the information on closed estates were provided to buyers by the administration or the Tea Board.

“In such cases, we noticed that new entrepreneurs want more details and have decided to go for SWOT analysis after which both positive and negatives sides of a closed tea estate can be furnished. The entrepreneur, instead of being half-informed, can take a complete stock of affairs and decide on the proposal, weighing the pros and cons,” an official in the district administration said.

SWOT analysis is a strategic planning method used to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats involved in a project or in a business venture. It involves specifying the objective of the business venture or project and identifying the internal and external factors that are favourable and unfavourable to achieving that objective.

“Positive aspects like old clients interested in taking their supply from the estate, development of infrastructure through government schemes, increase in tea prices and negatives like condition of the plantations and machinery are likely to find place in the analysis,” an official said.

Tea industry sources said since SWOT analysis assimilates most of the internal and external information of a business unit, it becomes easier for the management to work strategically on the strengths and weaknesses. “There are hardly any grey areas left after such analysis,” a planter said. “It can definitely help prospective investors of closed tea estates to assess situation and also in taking future decisions in case they acquire the gardens.”

Yadav said the professional agency that would conduct the survey is likely to be appointed shortly. “The reports will be sent to the state and Centre and other appropriate authorities,” the district magistrate added.