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New guidelines for setting up mini, micro factories for small tea growers soon

New Delhi, Jun 7 (UNI) Within a month, Tea Board of India, through Ministry of Commerce, will come up with notification on guidelines for setting up mini and micro factories for small tea growers.
This was announced by Santhosh Kumar Sarangi, Chairman, Tea Board of India, while addressing the Primary Producer Society (PPS) Assembly here today.
“Tea Board will allocate more funds for small tea growers. More subsidies will be given for maintaining their water sheds and transportation,” he added.
According to him, Small Tea Growers (STG) will have to grow up the value chain, become producers and participate in auction on their own. Tea Board will give them training in quality control and make sure the tea produced is of good quality.
“Considering the global warming and erratic rains, more and more tea growers will have to encourage into organic farming,” he emphasized.
“A win-sin situation will come when tea industry recognizes small tea growers and forge sustainable business partnerships with them. More and more BLFs and Estate factories must come forward to purchase leaf from the societies giving them fairer price”, says J John, Executive Director, Centre for Education and Communication.
He further added, “CEC has been working towards reducing poverty and improving income of the STGs. Organizing Primary Producer Society (PPS) for direct collective leaf trade and improvement in agricultural practices are at the heart of the activities. Over 590 PPS have been formed till date reaching out to about 50,000 growers.”
“Small tea growers contribute 35 to 40 per cent of the tea production in India and why do we still address them as STGs” asks Dr H R Khan, NABARD, Mumbai. According to him, farmer must be at the centre and not one commodity. He emphasized that awareness creation and capacity building will help them go up the vale chain.
India is the second largest producer of tea in the world. The Small Tea Growers segment has emerged over the last two to three decades following the serious structural shifts in the Indian tea industry, otherwise dominated by large tea estates. With less than 0.5 to 5 acres of land, approximately 450,000 STGs contribute 36 per cent of the India’s annual tea production. But, despite their high share, STGs remain at the bottom of the tea value chain as they remain isolated in the remotest and most backward regions like Assam, Tripura, North Bengal, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Meghalaya, Nagaland and the hills of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
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