An exercise to register and categorize small tea growers in South India is now in progress, said the Executive Director, Tea Board R. Ambalavanan while inaugurating a workshop for small growers at Gudalur on Friday.

Stating that the objective is to club small growers acreage wise, he said that they will in course of time be categorized as micro, mini etc and appropriate schemes would be evolved for them.

Pointing out that a number of schemes are being implemented for the uplift of small growers, he urged persons belonging to Scheduled Caste communities in the villages to apply for financial assistance to put up leaf collection centres.

Stating that most of the schemes are being implemented under the Quality Upgradation Programme (QUP) of the Tea Board, Mr. Ambalavanan exhorted tea growers and manufacturers to accord the highest priority for quality. They should safeguard the image of the Nilgiris tea.

Since labour shortage has become one of the biggest problems in the tea industry, they should go in for mechanization.

They should form societies and benefit to the maximum extent possible from various subsidy schemes.

Focus should be on low cost and efficient management of tea gardens.

Member, Tea Board, Koshy Baby said that the recent opening of an office of the Tea Board in Gudalur has considerably helped small tea growers in Gudalur and surroundings.

The Secretary, Nilgiri Adivasis Welfare Association (NAWA) M. Alwas also spoke.

Assistant Director, Tea Development, R. Selvam welcomed the gathering,

Deputy Director, Tea Development, Anupam Das proposed a vote of thanks.

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