Coonoor: The federal government would set up a committee to look into the development of small tea growers within the next two weeks, the trade minister said on 17 September.
At present, small tea growers in India account for 22% of the total tea area and production, compared with just 5% in the early 1990s. “We will be looking at different schemes and a committee will be appointed to have a support price for the small growers,” Kamal Nath told reporters on the sidelines of a planters’ conference in the southern Indian hill town of Coonoor.
The committee will consist of trade ministry officials, commodity board officials and growers. Subsidy is not sustainable and the sector could not run on it, he said adding it needs support in terms of packages and research.
The small tea growers sector in India is highly unorganized and does not get proper technical help on good crop practices. The government has increased the allocation for plantation sector to Rs30 billion in the Eleventh Plan from Rs12 billion during the Tenth Plan, but he did not say how much would go to the tea sector.