With an aim to address the issues related to smaller tea gardens, the Tea Board India has decided to set up a separate core committee that will work for the protection and development of the sector.
Following this decision of the Tea Board, the long-standing demand of the Confederation of Indian Small Tea Growers Associations (CISTA), an umbrella body of small tea growers in the country, gets fulfilled.
The committee will be headed by the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of Tea Board India, Saurav Pahari. The president of CISTA, Bijay Gopal Chakraborty, will also be part of the core committee.
Admitting that the development has fulfilled the long-standing demand of the small tea growers on this count, Chakraborty said that the separate core committee should have been set up much before.
"No decision in the tea sector will yield desired results unless the interests of the small tea growers are served, considering that small tea growers contribute for around 50 per cent of the total tea production in the country. This new committee will frame policies for tea gardens which do not cover an area of over 10 hectares," he added.
Welcoming the move, the Director (operations and plantations) of Chamong Tea, Indranil Ghosh, said that this was a long-standing demand of CISTA which has been finally fulfilled.
"Surely, the interests of the small tea growers needed a separate forum for addressing the issues related to the sector. The new committee is also expected to look into the matter of minimum wages for the labourers employed by the small tea growers," he said.
Speaking to IANS, tea sector observer Nandini Goswami said that it is too early to comment as to whether this new committee will in reality address the interests of the small tea growers or small tea garden owners.
"Apparently, it looks like a welcome move. The problem with the small tea growers is that often they do not have a proper platform for branding and marketing of the tea they produce. The products of some smaller tea gardens are really of very high quality. So, I am sure that this new committee will address that issue besides ensuring the payment of minimum wages to the labourers of small tea gardens," she said.
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