DIBRUGARH, Oct 29 - Given the fall in the price of green tea leaves since September last, the future prospect of small tea plantations of the State appears to be bleak, according to the small tea growers.
The All Assam Small Tea Growers� Association (AASTGA) in a statement on Saturday said that the growers have been yet again made to sell off their produce at a throwaway price. The growers hardly get Rs 7 to 12 per kg of tea leaves, which is much lower than the minimum cost of production, which is Rs 13, Rohit Borgohain, general secretary of the small tea growers' body stated in a press release.
Borgohain further said that due to the low price of green tea leaves, small tea growers are no longer interested in the so- called scientific management of tea. Some have already begun offering their plantations on lease to nearby tea estates while many have started selling off their full-grown plantations, fearing uncertainty, the association said.
The small tea growers have also expressed their sense of insecurity under the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, stating that despite appeals to the Ministry, the small tea growers have been denied membership of the Tea Board.
The small tea growers have been playing a pivotal role in the State economy. �We want better support from the State Government,� the leader said in the statement.
The association is organising a meeting at Golaghat on October 30 to discuss the problems of the growers so as to prepare an action plan for the future.