GUWAHATI, Feb 14 � The Confederation of Indian Small Tea Growers Associations (CISTA) today submitted a pre-budget memorandum to Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee highlighting the issues and concerns of small tea growers in India.
The issues that were raised for the Union Minister�s consideration in the ensuing budget include facilitating credit facility for small tea growers, introduction of plantation credit card for small tea sector in forthcoming financial budget 2012-13 and introduction of green tea leaves under the insurance scheme as crop insurance of Agriculture Insurance Co of India Limited to protect the crop in the next financial budget.
The Confederation also urged the Centre that in the Union Budget 2012-13 it provide special adequate fund for the STGs Directorate for its smooth functioning.
Moreover, it also demanded regular supply and affordable rate of fertilizer, which the Confederation believes, is one of the most important features that determine the quality of green tea leaf and better yield.
In India nearly 2 lakh small tea growers are cultivating tea. At present small tea growers in India account for more than 26 per cent of the total tea production compared with 5 per cent in the early 1990s.
�Recent price hike of urea and potash has created a huge financial loss to the small tea growers. If this goes on in future, then the growers will not be able to use fertilizer in the small plantations and ultimately crop will be affected. We request you to please announce subsidized fertilizer quota for the small tea growers,� the memorandum stated.
CISTA is the only national platform of small tea growers consisting of All Assam Small Tea Growers� Association, Federation of Small Tea Growers� Associations, Nilgiris, All Kerala Small Tea Growers Association, United Forum of Small Tea Growers Association, West Bengal, All Tripura Small Tea Growers� Association, Arunachal Pradesh Small Tea Growers� Association, All Mizoram Small Tea Growers� Association, Meghalaya Small Tea Growers� Association, Kangra Valley Small Tea Planters� Association, North Bihar Small Tea Growers� Association & All Bodoland Small Tea Growers� Association.