The tea industry, including the large and small tea growers, hopes to benefit from the ₹400-crore Tea Development and Promotion Scheme proposed by the Tea Board of India.
The Union government recently approved the Tea Board’s proposal for the three-year programme, effective till 2020. The scheme includes plantation development; quality upgrade and product diversification; market promotion (domestic and international); human resource development; research and development and national programme for tea regulation.
According to Arijit Raha, Secretary General, Indian Tea Association, the current 3-year plan is a part of the 13th Plan outlay.
Setting up FPOs
“Most of these are ongoing schemes and many are being continued from the 12th Plan. We welcome this as it provides for the various subsidy schemes and development of the industry,” he told BusinessLine.
As per the proposal, the Board has set aside a corpus of nearly ₹136 crore for big and small tea growers. The small tea growers are expecting to move up the value chain with the slew of initiatives planned including assistance to Farmers’ Producers organisations (FPO); setting up mini factories; and promoting organic farming.
Special packages have also been proposed for the small tea growers of the North-East, Idukki (Kerala), Kangra and Uttarakhand.
“The small tea growers, who account for nearly 47 per cent of the country’s tea production, immensely benefit under the scheme” Bijoy Gopal Chakraborty, President, Confederation of Indian Small Tea Growers Association, said.
The scheme has set aside ₹59 crore for promotion of tea both in domestic as well as international markets. The fund outlay under quality upgrade and product diversification is close to ₹46 crore. This will provide for value-addition by way of creating additional infrastructure for cleaning, blending, colour sorting and packaging of tea and speciality tea units.