LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Pathetic condition of small tea growers in Assam
Date: November 11, 2017
TNT- The Northeast Today
In 1823, the British first discovered tea plants in Sadiya and the first tea plantation was started in Chabua near Tinsukia. The present cost of production across Tinsukia is more than the per kg price of Green Tea Leaves,which is Rs 7.5. If this is the case than how can small tea growers accept anything below the cost of production?
Moreover, the average price of tea at the auction centre is about Rs 118 or more. More than that the small tea growers who supply their produce through agents are the worst hit. The agents deduct good amount from the price of every kilogram of leaves from the suppliers which means if a factory gives Rs 10 per kg, the grower would receive only Rs 7 or 8 and from this amount 3 rupee is being paid to the labour who plucks the green leaves for the owner of the tea garden. And finally Rs 4 or 5 is what the owner gets. From this amount the owner has to get the pesticides,vitamins and minerals for the tea leaves . At the end of the day what does he get? Just 2 or 3 Rupee Per Kilograms!
The unregulated agency system is another problem for the small tea growers who deduct huge amounts for themselves. Every year these small tea growers get Diwali bonus in terms of Low Rate which is less than the cost of production. Every year tea leaves get flooded as there are less numbers of Tea Factory under State Government. Private companies are making huge profits and the growers are suffering. Since the rising cost of fertilizers is subjecting tea growers to considerable hardships, our government should take appropriate steps to check the trend. Central and State Government, Assam Tea Board and The Tea Board Of India should take necessary steps for the small tea growers. Government should fix a particular per kg price for green tea leaves, for the betterment of the small tea growers.