Small Tea Growers Seek Inclusion In Welfare Schemes Meant For Farmers

Indian Small Tea Growers Associations (CISTA) appeal for inclusion in agricultural welfare schemes, highlighting challenges in pricing and bargaining power.
Small Tea Growers Seek Inclusion In Welfare Schemes Meant For Farmers

The Confederation of Indian Small Tea Growers Associations (CISTA) has urged the central government to include them under the ambit of various agricultural welfare schemes, contending that they are faced with pricing challenges.

In a letter to Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, CISTA president Bijoy Gopal Chakraborty outlined “unique challenges” faced by the small tea growers (STGs).

Unlike larger growers, they lack bargaining power and are at the “mercy of multinational tea companies when it comes to pricing”, he said.

"We fall under the purview of the Union Ministry of Commerce & Industry, leaving us ineligible for many key agricultural welfare schemes offered by the Agriculture Department," Chakraborty said.

He also acknowledged the minister's recent query about potential schemes beneficial to STGs, and presented a list of 10 such programmes.

CISTA requested inclusion in schemes ranging from crop insurance to income support, citing their potential to act as "price shock absorbers" for STGs and the broader production ecosystem.

"Farming is not charity. The livelihood of hundreds of thousands of small tea growers is at stake," Chakraborty claimed in the letter.

"We request the government to liaise with the Agriculture Department and implement these essential schemes for our community," he said.

The schemes include the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan), the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Maandhan Yojana (PM-KMY), Kisan Credit Card (KCC), the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) and the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY).

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