The Confederation of Indian Small Tea Growers’ Associations (CISTA), the apex body of small tea growers, has urged the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to implement farmer welfare schemes for small tea growers who have been hit by poor price realisation of green tea leaves.

In a letter to the Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, CISTA President Bijoy Gopal Chakraborty said small tea growers (STGs) are badly affected by the poor price realisation of green tea leaf which is the only raw material for making finished tea since the last 10 years. “STGs are nothing like farmers but unfortunately they did not avail any Prime Minister farmers welfare schemes...As STGs are under Union Ministry of Commerce & Industry, they are not entitled to avail the schemes under the Agriculture Department,” Chakraborty said.

“In this juncture, we are requesting you to please use your good office and take the initiative as liaison with Union Agriculture Department, government of India, so that Tea Board India can act as a nodal agency to implement the 10 schemes for the STG community,” said the CISTA President in the letter, written on Monday.

Notably, Goyal met stakeholders of Darjeeling and Assam tea industry in Kolkata on January 6 to discuss the challenges being faced by the industry players.

“I, on behalf of CISTA, attended the meeting called by the Tea Board for stakeholders of Darjeeling & Assam tea industry where Union Minister of Commerce & Industry Piyush Goyal was present. CISTA in its representation suggested to the minister on issues like implementation of PM farmers welfare schemes, dedicated fund for STG training, and branding and marketing, among others,” Chakraborty told businessline on Tuesday.

In the meet, Goyal advised CISTA to send the proposals related to the farmers welfare schemes to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

“If these schemes are implemented for the STG sector, STGs would be benefited a lot,” Chakraborty added.