Tea Board earmarks Rs.300 crore for small growers

Guwahati, April 28: The Tea Board of India has earmarked Rs.300 crore for the development of the country’s small tea growers in the current financial year, its chairman M.G.V.K. Bhanu said Saturday.

“The Tea Board has accorded priority to the growth of the small tea growers as they have contributed significantly to the development of the tea industry as a whole. Of the 1,000 million kg produced in the country annually, 25 percent is produced by the small tea growers and that is quite significant,” Bhanu said, addressing a convention-cum-workshop for Small Tea Growers at the auditorium of Tezpur University.

He also said that the Board is going to conduct a study in five districts of Assam and two districts in West Bengal to find out on how to link up the small tea growers with the big tea factories in an organised and systemic way.

“It is very important to establish the vital link between the small and big producers for the benefit of the tea industry as a whole. The small tea growers would stand to gain more if we can link them up with big factories,” he said.

The Tea Board chairman also assured that the Board would provide 40 percent subsidy to the small tea growers for setting up factories, besides subsidies to purchase vehicles for transportation of their produce.

Bhanu also announced a slew of measures for the small tea growers in this part of the country including an exposure tour of some selected small tea growers to Kenya for training.

“We are going to select four small tea growers from Sonitpur district this year and they would be taken to Kenya for undergoing training there,” he said, noting that Indian small tea growers can learn lot of things as the small tea growers in the African region produce 70 percent of the total production.

He also announced that an office of the small tea growers will be opened at Dibrugarh by September this year.

IANS