Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman
Minister of State for Commerce and Industry (Independent Charge)
New Delhi - 110001
We, the undersigned representatives of Primary Producer Societies or registered small tea grower societies in Assam, through this memorandum, bring to your kind attention certain important matters that concern us. There are more than 300 registered small grower societies in Assam, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, each unit with a membership of 60 to 100 and land ownership on an average of 120 acres, engaged in direct collective leaf trade with bought leaf factories or estate factories. We represent them.
Small tea growers in India are celebrating December 15, the 12th international tea day (ITD) with increased sense of self-worth.
We are proud to be the producers of tea, a health drink. India is the second largest producer of this health drink in the world. We, the small farmers, though having on an average less than 2 acres of land, are proud to contribute 33.85% in 2015-16 of tea produced in India. In 1999 small growers’ contribution was only 1.16% of the total production. In 2015-16, of the total production of 1233.14 million kgs of tea, small sector contributed 417.42 million kgs based on an aggregation of tea manufactured by 568 bought leaf factories. Our contribution to the total tea production in India must be higher if our supply to estate factories are also considered.
Small farmer’s production is almost twice the quantity of tea exported by India. During the financial year 2015-16 India exported 232.92 million kgs valued at Rs. 4493.10 crore. We are feeling proud of the fact that we contribute not only to meet the growing domestic demand for tea in India but also to obtain valuable foreign exchange.
Small sector contributes to employment generation in the rural areas, uplifting hundreds of thousands of people from poverty and it prevents distress migration. Tea cultivation is respectful self-employment for thousands of young people, and in all tea growing areas; and it also absorbs as workers a large number of unemployed from the large tea estates.
For small growers, land is not a commodity, but a source of life and livelihood, integral to our existence. Overcoming compulsions from chemical and fertiliser companies, increasing number of farmers are following responsible agricultural practices, moving towards chemical free and organic agriculture.
We want Central and State governments to recognise our contribution to the nation, its economy, environment and to the people of India and of the World.
In this context, we strongly urge Government of India
1. to ensure that we get a fair price for our produce by
a. strong and participatory enforcement of Price Sharing formula,
b. ensuring better price for better quality of leaf supplied,
c. making certified organic manure and pesticides available;
2. not to delay the declared subsidies to small growers including leaf collection shed, leaf weighing machine, leaf carrying bag, pruning machine, plucking machine, irrigation equipment and computer;
3. to extend crop insurance scheme to all small growers without any delay;
4. to implement universal social security and health coverage for the workers working in our gardens;
5. to encourage collectives of small growers having 100 acres of land, quality leaves, and compliance to Plant Protection Code to set up factories to manufacture chemical free / organic green specialty tea and facilitate their marketing ventures by
a. easing steps to set up such units, especially, approvals for land, building and machinery
b. easing steps to obtain other necessary permits and licences including electricity, pollution, sales tax etc
c. ensuring easy access to credit from NABARD, SFAC and other public as well as private financial institutions
d. extending financial assistance as is available for big factories
On the occasion of 12th International Tea Day, we stand united with self-respect for responsible, sustainable and remunerative tea cultivation and assure quality tea.
Once again, seeking your pro-active intervention,
Ajit Giri, President, Rangagora STG Development Society, Tinsukia
Ajay Moran, Secretary, Jagriti STG Society, Tinsukia
K Upadhyay, President, Chaolung STG Society, Tinsukia
Bulbul Gogoi, Secretary, Kunhi STG Society, Tinsukia
Tileswar Gogoi, Secretary, Prerona STG Society, Tinsukia
Jagat Malik, Secretary, Seuji STG Society, Tinsukia
Binanda Urang, Secretary, Luitpuria STG Society, Tinsukia
Mukul Saikia, Secretary, Champawati STG Society, Nagaon
Ratan Das, Member, Sarishabari STG Society, Nagaon
Thomas Rangfar, President, Jirsong STG Society, Karbi Anglong
Lison Hanse, Secretary, Deuhari STG Society, Karbi Anglong
Kasang Tissopi , Secretary, Panjan Women Mini Tea Plantation Society, Karbi Anglong
Ranjit Saikia, Secretary, NA-Seujee STG Society, Golaghat
Bheegu Hazarika, Secretary, NA-Kuhipat STG Society, Golaghat
Bipul Mali, Member, Greater Bokajan STG Society, Karbi Anglong
Kajalia Limbu, President, Tagera STG Society, Tinsukia
Depak Medh, Secretary, Gyan Mukhi STG Society, Sonitpur
Mondol Basumatary, Secretary, Chatrang Balijan Society, Sonitpur
Agnesh Basumatary, President, Geremsha Society, Sonitpur
Bhim Rabidas, Member, Pragati Society, Udalguri
Sanjib Das, Secretary, Ranchali Sonari STG Society, Sonitpur
Pankaj Kalita, President, Samannay STG Society, Udalguri
Mwlao Basumatari, Secretary, Swmkhwr Gohpur STG Society, Udalguri
Bijoy Boro, Secretary, Rwdwmkhang STG Society, Udalguri
Sabin Narzari, President, Sona Bilai STG Society, Udalguri
Riten Baglary, Secretary, Daogafu STG Society, Udalguri
Clerkson Basumatary, President, Swmkhwr Bilai STG Society, Udalguri
Jwngsar Daimary, Secretary, Agwma STG Society, Udalguri
Devsrang Brahma, Secretary, Gwrlwi Bilai STG Society, Udalguri
Subungsha Boro, Secretary, Mithinga STG Society, Udalguri
Jonaram Borgoyary, Secretary, Gatwn STG Society, Udalguri
Abhit Rabha, President, Milanjyoti STG Society, Udalguri
Jermiah Daimary, Treasurer, Dwimu STG Society, Udalguri
Phukan Daimari, Member, Siro Sewaj STG Society, Udalguri
Kukhol Boro, Secretary, Rwdwmsha STG Society, Udalguri
Mukul Patangia, Secretary, Samannay Tea Growers Society, Sonitpur
Bilat Goyary, President, Pub Chaiduar STG Society, Sonitpur
Robul Handique, Secretary, Heuoj Amtola STG Society, Sonitpur
N. Pokrel, Secretary, Green Bud STG Society, Sonitpur