Agri Business

Small tea growers directorate to go on stream soon: Scindia

| Updated on: Sep 28, 2012
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Upasi plea for allotting more funds for research, mechanisation

The Union Government has set up a Small Grower Development Directorate as part of the Tea Board to exclusively address the issues pertaining to the small sector.

“We have created 40-50 posts to look after small growers’ development and the Directorate will become functional soon” said Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Jyotiraditya Scindia, although he did not mention the timeframe.

Small sector accounts for 40 per cent of the South Indian tea output.

The Directorate will provide effective extension services, better management of the entire chain — from plantation to marketing, quality enhancement, value addition, export potential and better price realisation.

Focusing on exports

Addressing the 119th annual general meeting of the United Planters Association of India, the Minister said that of the total tea output of 976 million kg (mkg) in 2011-12, exports accounted for 191 mkg estimated at $600 million.

“There is a steady and healthy growth in consumption — domestic and overseas. And as such, we are looking forward to boost it and diversify our exports. We have in place ‘555’ scheme that would focus on five countries over a period of five years with five strategies,” he said.

The Ministry will implement the scheme in a phased manner and has sanctioned Rs 6.5 crore. The total corpus size is Rs 100 crore for a period of five years with private participation in 75:25 ratio. The Ministry has identified Kazakhstan, Iran, Egypt, Russia and the US as the five destinations, Scindia said.

Machinery sops

Stressing farm mechanisation, he said that concessional tariffs given for imported coffee machinery would continue in the 12th Plan also and would be included in the Budget proposals by the Ministry of Finance.

Input costs

In his presidential address, Upasi president D. Hegde, said that although South India was one of the few regions globally to report higher prices, the industry is faced with escalating production costs.

“The prices of fertilisers have more than doubled in the last one year besides scarce availability. Wages are also going up exponentially, whereas prices are moving up at a slower pace,” he said. The association has requested the Government to allot more funds towards research and mechanisation activities.

>gayathri.gururajan@thehindu.co.in

Published on November 17, 2017

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