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Small tea growers seek bailout package from Centre

LN Revathy Coimbatore | Updated on December 29, 2014 Published on December 29, 2014

BL30_STATES_TEA

Ask for revision of prices of green tea leaf to ₹25 per kg





A section of small tea growers from Nilgiris met the Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman in Coimbatore on Saturday to put a “full stop” to their suffering.

Representatives of the Nilgiris Nelikolu Micro and Small Tea Growers and Farmers’ Development (NSTF) Society urged the Government to pass orders announcing at least ₹25/kg for green tea leaf.

“Our demand is based on the IIPM (Indian Institute of Plantation Management) Committee findings. It is over a year now, but the bought leaf factories are still not paying the benchmark price. They have instead filed a writ before the Madras High Court and obtained an interim stay against the constitution of the district-level price monitoring committee and payment of benchmark price,” said HN Sivan, President, NSTF Society.

He alleged that the bought leaf factories were suppressing the rate, and added. “The average rate realised by the growers in 2013-14 was only around ₹8 a kg, whereas the cost of production of 1 kg of green tea leaves is ₹15.”

Small tea growers’ contribution to the total tea production in South India is close to 30 per cent, said Sivan, adding, “We have been suffering for the last 16 years and the damages are severe. We, therefore, request appropriate steps without further delay for bailing out this sector.”

Price sharing formula

The Society has also sought for amending the existing 65:35 price sharing formula in favour of small tea growers to secure the realistic price (as ordered by the High Court) and adequate representation (of small growers) in various committees of Tea Board.

Above all, they demanded that the Government should ensure that some portion of the present allocation of ₹200 crore (for the next Plan period) be given for setting up micro- and mini-green tea factories by small growers in the Nilgiristo realise the ‘Make in India’ vision.

Published on December 29, 2014
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