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Assam small tea growers mull creating own brand

Assam,Business/Economy, Fri, 23 Mar 2012 IANS

Guwahati, March 23 (IANS) Small tea growers in Assam might soon create a brand of their own to make their presence felt in the Indian as well as the international market.


New Delhi-based Centre for Education and Communication (CEC) came to the rescue of small tea growers, who are often deprived of fair price for their produce by big companies and leaf factories.


CEC executive director J. John Friday said they are implementing a project in Assam in association with small tea growers whereby they will facilitate forming a primary society or self help groups (SHGs) by uniting the small tea growers to achieve a better bargain for their produce.


The project, which aims at providing sustainable livelihood to small tea growers is being implemented with a Britain-based Traidcraft and with funding of about 1 million euros ($1.3 mn) by the European Union. The project is being implemented in five states - Assam, West Bengal, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram, John said at a press conference here.


"There are 70,000 small tea growers in Assam and they produce about 30 percent of state's total tea. However, there is no uniform price realisation for them as the growers had to depend either on the bought leaf factories or on other large factories," he said.


"We are going to give all the required assistance to the small tea growers and help them forming primary societies or SHGs, which will help them make a better bargain with the factories over their green leafs collectively," he said.


If needed, the small tea growers will go for having factories and brand their own product to enter national as well as international market, John added.


All Assam Small Tea Growers Association secretary Dinesh Sarma said: "We have decided to cooperate with the CEC in implementing the project. The project is important for us as price realisation is a big problem here."


"Last year, we get maximum price of Rs.16 against per kg of green leaves in the beginning of the season but later it went down to Rs.4 per kg, which is depressing."


John said similar initiatives had already worked in Tamil Nadu.


"There are 57 such primary societies in the state and the small tea growers are receiving Rs.2 to Rs.4 more against per kg of green leaves after forming the societies," he said.


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