Plans to roll out Rs.300-crore scheme for small growers

The Tea Board has decided to shut shop in London, Dubai and Moscow. It also plans to roll out a new Rs.300-crore scheme for small growers and extend financial support to small growers affected by hail [hail is a form of solid precipitation consisting of balls or irregular lumps of ice] in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.

These were among the major decisions taken at the meeting of the industry regulator in Kerala’s Kumarakom last week.

It also mulled a proposal to rope in IIM Kolkata to conduct a study on the Board’s organisational structure and its management so as to suggest measures to improve its working efficiency. On the decision to close down the three overseas offices, Tea Board said that this was decided after deliberating on the findings of the CAG and independent agency KPMG. Overseas promotion would now be done from the headquarters here and officers posted in these places would now be relocated to Kolkata.

The board meeting discussed and approved several initiatives for the small tea growers, given the importance of this sector, which now contributes 26 per cent of the Indian crop. The Rs.300-crore scheme will address the developmental needs of the small growers. To help the tea planters in this segment, whose crop has been damaged by the hail in March-May period, the Tea Board will provide financial support to small tea growers in Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu and Chopra block in Uttar Dinajpur in West Bengal.

The board meeting decided that financial assistance will be given to the affected growers as working capital.

This would be Rs.10,000 per hectare for which they would have to come under the umbrella of a self-help group.

The board meeting approved a proposal to set up a laboratory for testing tea quality at the Tea Board headquarters here. The facility will test iron filings in tea samples from various estates. This is likely to help tea traders who face harassment from Prevention of Food Adulteration Authorities.

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