OOTY: Small tea growers (STG) in the Nilgiris want the Tea Board to evolve a mechanism for health care and educational assistance exclusively for STGs, besides taking steps to fix the procurement price for black tea in auction centres.
Thumboor I. Bhojan, president of the ‘Hill District Small Growers Welfare Association (HDSGWA)’, said that in the recent meet of his association it was decided to appeal to the Tea Board to create new avenues to bring health care and educational assistance to families of STGs as STGs have been struggling for more than a decade for a good remunerative price for the green tea leaf which they produce and sell to tea factories.
“The continued price fluctuations and non-remunerative price for green tea leaf has shaken the family economy of the STGs. The STG families in Nilgiris, which account for the major farming community in the hills, are finding it tough to meet expenses for health issues of their families and education of their children. It is high time that the Tea Board creates a modern hospital in Nilgiris exclusively to cater to the needs of STG families.
The Tea Board should also create a special fund to provide educational assistance to wards of STGs,” he noted.“As the interference of middlemen and cartels in the auction centres is working against the interests of STGs and hindering benefits from reaching the growers, the HDSGWA also wants the Tea Board to take steps to fix `150 as the minimum procurement price for a kilogram of black tea/made tea in the tea auction centres,” he added.