The need to fix a floor price for the produce of the small tea growers in the Nilgiris has been emphasized by the Kotagiri based Porangadu Seemai Nala Sangam.
In a letter sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the General Secretary of the association A.Kari Gowder pointed out that about 65,000 farmers and a large number of labourers were dependent on tea cultivation for their livelihood.
Congratulating Mr.Modi on behalf of the Badagas of the Nilgiris for assuming charge as the 15th Prime Minister of India, he said that The Nilgiris was the home of the Badagas and for most of them tea cultivation was the only source of livelihood.
Due to various factors like rising wages of labourers and increase in the cost of inputs including fertilizers and pesticides, the cost of cultivation had gone up substantially. However the returns are not commensurate.
On an average factories are offering only about Rs.11 per kilogram of raw leaf. Consequently it is becoming increasingly difficult to make ends meet.
Due to the unremunerative prices over the past about 15 years, many of the small tea growers are facing severe financial problems.
Thousands of growers have moved out of the district in search of a livelihood.
Hence the government should evolve ways to fix a floor price for the raw leaf.