Small tea growers can breathe a sigh of relief. Committees are being set up at district level to fix a minimum procurement price for green tea leaves (GTL) produced by small tea growers(STG).
Delivering the presidential address at the Nilgiri tea and traditional festival cum STG convention organised by the Tea Board and Nelllkolu Trust here at the Young Badagas’ Association hall on Thursday, M.G.V.K. Bhanu, chairman, Tea Board, said that the Badagas and tea cultivation are inseparable and that they need not be disheartened by the fluctuations in the market.
Saying that tea cultivation is a tradition of Nilgiris, Bhanau rued that quite a few tea estates have become real estate hubs recently because small growers are selling their gardens to those who use it for other purposes.
“Tea growers, especially the Badagas, who are the single largest ethnic community in the Nilgiris and who constitute the bulk of STG in Nilgiris, should realise they have a duty to protect tea gardens for posterity. Shrinkage of tea gardens would result in undesirable changes in the tea-linked culture and tradition of Nilgiris” he warned. Bhanu said that the Tea Board, taking directives from Madras HC has decided to set up a price-fixation committee.