Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal pioneered 'Mission Assam QualiTEA' in the state’s Agricultural University in order to improve the economic status of tea growers.
Under the scheme, the state government aims to encourage and provide financial assistance to Assam's small tea growers to thrust the value of the tea industry.
With the new scheme in place, thousands of small tea growers from the state received cash incentives from the state government. Each small tea grower from 33 districts of Assam was given 5,000 rupees per bigha.
The novel scheme is expected to benefit small tea growers in the North-eastern state.
Soon after launching the scheme, Sonowal told ANI: "The tea growers are indigenous sons of the soil and if they are not provided land patta, they will be deprived of it. It is because of their hard work that led to the economic growth of the state. So, it is our sole responsibility to solve their problems and the state government has already taken initiative to provide land to the farmers."
Sonowal also inaugurated ‘Training of small tea growers on Tea quality’ which will be conducted in 101 blocks in a phase-wise manner.
The training program will include sessions on how to grow tea in a scientifically right manner from nursery, plantation, plucking, marketing, and pruning, besides, theoretical training in the matters like selection and preparation of land, soil rehabilitation and soil sampling procedure to name a few.
Small tea growers will also be provided scientific training by Tocklai Tea Research Institute at 101 blocks to help them increase productivity.
Small tea growers have welcomed the scheme as it would improve their financial status and motivate them to improve their farming skill.
“I received 10, 000 rupees under the new plantation scheme and utilised the money for extending another two bigha tea garden and bought new saplings. I am also able to keep the garden clean. I thank the government for giving us the incentives. I hope the other farmers get the same benefit,” said tea planter Naren Borah.
Interestingly, Assam is the largest tea producing state in the country. The state houses nearly 800 tea plantations and with all the pride the total tea produced by Assam and other northeastern states are mainly by small tea growers.
Their contribution to national tea production is more than 14 per cent. Moreover, small tea growers contribute one-third of the total tea production of Assam.
Meanwhile, Sonowal also urged small tea growers to work with dedication in order to produce quality tea for transforming Assam into a front ranking state and capture the world market.
Such steps by the state government will not only increase production of high-quality tea but will allow the farmers to earn a better livelihood, and thereby contributing towards the country’s economic growth, which will increase the value of Assam tea in the global market.