CHENNAI: With a view to shield the 22,000 and odd small tea growers in the State from the impact of global fall in tea price, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Thursday announced setting up of a Price Stabilisation Fund for Green Tea Leaf as a permanent arrangement with a corpus of `12 crore.
“When the price fixed for green tea leaf in the cooperative tea factories falls below the minimum price fixed by the Tea Board, an additional price of not more than `2 per kg will be given to small tea growers from the Price Stabilisation Fund,” the CM said in a statement.
The State during the current financial year, would provide `8 crore towards the corpus fund and `4 crore would be given by Tamil Nadu Small Tea Growers Industrial Cooperative Tea Factories Federation Ltd (INDCOSERVE). Further, INDCOSERVE would give 75 per cent of the profit netted through sale of Ooty Tea towards the corpus every year while the State government would pay the rest of the amount. After assuming office in 2011, Jayalalithaa had provided a grant of `11.20 crore in 2011-12 and `6 crore in 2012-13 with a view to pay a higher price for the small tea growers.
Towards modernisation of 15 tea factories in Nilgiris district, she had allocated `5.46 crore as grant. Apart from this, so far, `1.5 crore had been allocated for buying electronic weighing machines. “In all, during the past three years, my government has extended `24.16 crore as grant for the welfare of the small tea growers,” she added.
Jayalalithaa also recalled that during her earlier tenure as CM in 2001, she had ordered that the tea procured from Nilgiris tea growers would be sold under the brand name “Ooty tea” through the Public Distribution System. She had also inaugurated an electronic auction center in 2003, for procuring tea produced by small farmers, to prevent middlemen in sales.