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Small tea growers see gains in Centre’s new framework

Small tea growers see gains in Centre’s new framework

May 16, 2018


The small tea growers (STG) sector will score major gains in the Medium Term Framework that the Centre has approved for the tea industry.The modalities and the guidelines of the Tea Development and Promotion Scheme sent by the Tea Board in December 2017, have now been approved. There is a special package for STG in non-traditional areas in the northeast and in Idduki district in Kerala.The scheme would run from December 29, 2017 to March 31, 2020. “With the 12th plan ending in April 2017, the MTF is a mechanism to provide continuity of the schemes”, a Tea Board official said. There is also a scheme for rewarding the best performers among the big growers through a system of grading, which was started last year.However, marking a distinct identity for the STG segment is a highlight of the ₹394.9 crore package. The scheme puts STGs under the overall ₹136.5 crore plantation development component through which they will get assistance under all the heads now available for the large producers . While big growers are those owning more than 10.12 hectares, those owning up to or lesser than such extent are classified as small tea growers.Indian tea crop output touched 1325.1 million kg in FY18, rising 5.9 %, according to official figures.


‘STGs contribute more’

According to Tea Board chairman P.K Bezboruah, “much of this increased output comes from the STG segment as the organised sector was stagnating.” The STG segment’s share is 46.8%.


When contacted, Bijoy Chakraborty, president of the Confederation of Indian Small Tea Growers Association said that the per hectare fund allotment for farm inputs such as fertiliser and pesticides has doubled.The scheme also provides for allocation towards setting up mini-tea factories and for overseas promotion.Pointing out that collectivising the small and marginal tea growers into producers organisations has emerged as one of the most effective ways to improve their access to investments and technology inputs the new scheme envisages formation of farmers producer organisations with creation of common facilities and a system of rewarding best performance. They can also set up manufacturing units. STGs on their own too are being encouraged to set up mini factories with a financial assistance of 50 % of the cost.



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