Kerala

Wayanad farmers to launch organic green tea factory

The organic green tea factory of the Wayanad Green Tea Producer Company, a collective of 147 small-scale tea growers.  

At a time when low prices of tea leaves are worrying small-scale farmers in the country, a group of farmers in Wayanad are preparing to launch an organic green tea factory with a view to reviving the sector.

The factory, under the Wayanad Green Tea Producer Company, a collective of 147 small-scale tea growers, envisages to ensure a sustainable income for farmers in the sector by avoiding middlemen, said N.S. Sajikumar, assistant general manager, NABARD, Wayanad. It also aims at producing and marketing speciality tea, like organic green tea, at affordable prices. Over the past decade, the Tea Board of India has taken initiatives to motivate small-scale tea growers to work as collectives by forming producer-societies or self-help groups for sustainable green tea leaf trade, Jose Sebastian, chief executive officer of the company, said.

There are over 1,200 SHGs in the tea sector in the country, but most of them are left to the mercy of bought-leaf factories in the absence of any processing facilities, he said.

NABARD support

Five years ago, members of the Small Tea Growers Society at Karadippara and the Karshaka Jyothi Small Tea Growers Society at Vattachola in the district constituted the farmer producer company, with the support of NBARD to overcome the exploitation in the sector. “Later we decided to set up a factory exclusively for green tea at Karadippara and tap the vast potential of organic green tea,” Mr. Jose said. The factory has been set up at a cost of ₹83 lakh, including₹45.80 lakh as assistance from NABARD and ₹3 lakh as start-up grant of the State Industries Department.

Incentives

“Now the farmers are getting only ₹11.50 a kg of green leaf. When the factory starts organic green tea leaf procurement, we can provide ₹30 a kg and incentives to them, he said. The factory has a capacity to process 1,200 kg of green tea leaf a day. I.C. Balakrishnan, MLA, will open the factory at 10 a.m. on Thursday.


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Printable version | Jan 28, 2022 6:49:20 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/wayanad-farmers-to-launch-organic-green-tea-factory/article21285134.ece

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