Appoint full-time managing director for Nilgiris tea federation Indcoserve, CM urged

The Nilgiris Documentation Centre has asked the CM to resolve the management problems at Indcoserve, as the federation was in the best position to help distressed small tea-growers in Nilgiris district

Published - August 25, 2023 01:53 pm IST - COIMBATORE

The Nilgiris Documentation Centre (NDC) has urged the T.N. Chief Minister to appoint, without delay, a full-time managing director for Indcoserve, a tea cooperative federation, in order to help distressed small tea- growers in the Nilgiris.

D. Venugopal of the NDC, in a petition, said that the apex tea cooperative body has been without a full-time head for some time. Recently, small tea-growers had announced a relay fast to bring attention to their plight, he stated.

Indcoserve, the largest tea growers cooperative in the country, accounts for about 15 per cent of the district’s tea production and is the only hope of the small tea-growers. The cooperative is in the best position to emerge as the price leader in the small growers’ segment. However, it has been beset with the management problems for a long time, Mr. Venuugopal said. A huge debt burden is also said to have crippled the management further.

In 2000, when the tea industry in the Nilgiris faced a similar crisis due to faults in the tea auction system, the DMK government then took the bold decision to encourage the industry to market their teas directly. This stabilised the bigger plantations to some extent; however, the small tea grower’s segment continues to be in the doldrums, forcing the bulk of the small tea growers to lead a hand-to-mouth existence, he alleged.

Indcoserve needs dynamic leadership now to rescue the small tea growers in the interests of the whole district. The distress sales of lands by tea growers has already led to thousands of acres of tea gardens being converted into real estate property. Unchecked, such sales will spell doom for small tea growers, who mainly belong to the indigenous Badaga community and the families of labourers who are repatriates, he said.

Mr. Venugopal urged the government to think of out-of-box solutions such as merging TANTEA and Indcoserve and focusing on production and quality control to reach wider markets.

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