Small tea growers seek international agency

An international agency has been proposed to help represent the small tea growers’ sector, which currently contributes about 70 per cent of the world tea crop. Efforts are also on to find ways to directly market small tea growers’ produce.

The recent inter-session meeting of the Inter-governmental Group of FAO in Italy discussed the plan. Representatives from India, Sri Lanka, Kenya, China, Japan, Malawi, the U.S., Turkey, Argentina, Italy, the U.K., Indonesia and Canada were present.

The 11-member Indian delegation was led by Santosh Kumar Sarengi, chairman, Tea Board India. It also included a member representing the interests of India’s small tea growers. The need for an international body for small tea growers was brought to the fore by quite a few tea-growing countries including India, Sri Lanka, Kenya and Indonesia. These countries have among them a small tea holders’ group with representatives of the respective governments and the industry. The contribution from this segment of the tea industry is highest in Sri Lanka and Kenya.

Industry sources said that price realisation, quality and cost of production were among the core issues affecting this segment. Large industry and trade were insisting on certification from the growers to ensure fulfilment of statutory regulations and safety norms but there were no ways of addressing the small growers’ core issues. It was felt that having an international organisation may help in that direction.

Bijoy Gopal Chakraborty, President, Confederation of Indian Small Tea Growers Associations said that the issue was expected to take a final shape at the 23 meeting of FAO in Kenya in May 2016.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 1:40:31 AM |

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