The government is looking to take steps to help the small tea growers (STGs) who contribute more than 50 per cent of the country’s total tea production.

According to Piyush Goyal, Commerce and Industry Minister, efforts are being made to strengthen the STGs and ensure they remain as a safe source of supply to the factories for tea production.

“For Indians, chai is a drink for every occasion. Tea resonates with every class, gender… is certainly a national beverage.  Small tea growers account for over 50 per cent of total tea production. The government is taking steps to help the STGs. Efforts are also being taken to ensure that the STGs become a safe source of supply to the factories producing tea,” Goyal said through a recorded message while addressing the India International Small Tea Growers’ Convention, organised by Solidaridad Asia in partnership with the Indian Tea Association here on Friday.

The government, he said, is taking steps for automatic renewal of their licenses for exports, tea waste and warehousing. “It is time to make tea manufacturing profitable, viable and a sustainable process. The tea exporters should focus on high value markets like the European Union, Canada and the US, as well as on brand promotion and marketing,” he said.

Speaking at the annual general meeting of ITA on Thursday, Tea Board Chairman, Saurav Pahari said that the board has sought an assistance of ₹1,000 crore for the industry over the next five years starting 2022-23. A major chunk of it would be utilised towards handholding STGs.

Promoting sustainability

According to Shatadru Chattopadhyay, Managing Director, Solidaridad Asia, over a million small tea growers in India and from other countries depend on the tea industry for their existence. The tea business is critical to rural livelihood as well as the economy of the producing countries. Promoting long-term health, well-being, and environmental sustainability in the tea business should be a top priority. But the sector is facing a crisis because of persistently low tea prices.


Hence, to empower the farmers to turn their business into a purpose-driven brand, Solidaridad is planning to introduce SoliTrace as a part of TRINITEA, a make-in-India sustainability initiative involving smallholder tea farmers and a QR code technology that would allow consumers to interact with the tea producers, as well as learn about the safety and quality standards adopted.

More than 92,000 small tea growers have already become members of TRINITEA programme and by the end of 2022, the target is to engage 1,00,000 small tea growers. “Such innovation will gradually empower the small tea growers and workers’ associations by helping them build independent, democratic organisations, improve their negotiation position with buyers/employers, achieve economic stability, make joint investments and increase their collective influence,” he said.

The conference saw participation from across India and several other countries, including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia and Nepal to discuss and address these challenges.

At the conference, Solidaridad also introduced other innovative products specially designed for farmers such as SoliProbe, an instant soil analyzer, SoliMet, a hyper-local weather station, SoliBot an interactive chatbot and Ballotronix, an instant tea leaf reader.

“The tea industry as a whole is being adversely impacted by factors that are detrimental to social development, economy, and environment. These factors include the growing effects of climate change, price stagnation and high input cost which have a bearing on the cost of production as well as the mismatch between demand and supply that results in oversupply. In addition, the industry has to bear high transaction costs while facing difficulties in realising fair prices. Despite all these handicaps, the industry is committed to pursuing the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN,” Nayantara Palchoudhuri, Chairperson, ITA said.