Agri Business

Tea growers seek ₹3,000 per month for one year

PS Sundar Coonoor | Updated on April 15, 2020

Tea growers have sought a living subsidy of ₹3,000 per month each for one year as a compensation for the loss of income due to the lockdown in the fight against Covid-19.

“Small growers have not been attending to their field operations since the lockdown. As the bought leaf factories that buy our leaf was also locked down till April 14, there was no point in our harvesting green leaf,” said S Ramu, President, Small Tea Growers’ Association of Southern India (STASI).

“The result is that the leaf is overgrown and we have to discard the harvested leaf as factories do not accept them. This has left the growers with no income,” he said.

“Now we have to carry on with field maintenance and wait for the bushes to come back to bearing stage for further harvest. This entails maintenance expenses,” he noted.

“By that time, monsoon will gain intensity and obstruct field operations, including plucking. This will be followed by winter with some fields suffering from the usual frost. This means that our business prospects will be adversely affected for the next one year even if the lockdown is lifted. Being an agricultural product, tea is susceptible to the vagaries of weather,” Ramu observed.

“In fact, after a prolonged deep winter, we were getting ready to harvest a good crop in the first flush season beginning in March, but then the Covid-19 disruption happened,” he added.

“So, we have appealed to the Union Commerce and Finance Ministers to grant a living subsidy of ₹3,000 per month for one year from now,” said Ramu, who is also a member of the Executive Committee of Confederation of Small Tea Growers’ Association (CISTA) to which STASI is affiliated.

“All field activities connected with replanting, pruning, rejuvenation, infilling, pest and disease maintenance and irrigation can be supported through the existing schemes operated by the Tea Board. All that is required is the timely release of adequate funds by the government to the Board and by the Board to the growers,” said Ramu, who is a former member of Tea Board.

Published on April 15, 2020

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