Small tea growers in Assam estimate a loss of Rs 500 crore due to the pandemic
Small tea growers (STG) in Assam estimate that following lockdown due to COVID pandemic they will be staring at a loss of Rs 500 Crore.
Around 49 percent of tea produced in Assam is from the green tea leaves of small tea growers. Assam is the largest producer of tea in India and accounts for 52 percent of India’s tea
All Assam Small Tea Growers’ Association (AASTGA) General Secretary and Confederation of Indian Small Tea Growers Associations (CISTA) Vice president Karuna Mahanta told ET, “Following lockdown on March 24 last tea sector has suffered massive losses.”
He added, “While state government allowed reopening of tea activity on April 11 we saw in our gardens there is hardly any crop for tea plants have over grown and we had to get engaged in skiffing (removal of overgrown tea leaves). Already we had done skiffing in December.”
Mahanta said, “Production loss besides engaging manpower for skiffing activity means huge cost to us. Due to COVID crisis small tea growers have suffered loss close to Rs 500 Crore.”AASTGA pegs the number of small growers in Assam at 1.3 lakh, out of an estimated 2.5 lakh across India
He added that growers have sought subsidized fertilizers and muriate of potash (MoP) from Centre. “Small growers are vital part of Assam’s economy and socio economic situation is largely dependent of the tea. Nearly 15 lakh family are dependent of small tea growers. At this hour of crisis government needs to bail us out.”