Do you know that Assam small tea growers have a long connection with Pakistan?
Because Assam’s green tea is most favoured by the Pakistan, Afganistan and Kashmir market to fight to severe cold condition and traditionally Assam has been exporting tea to Pakistan.
Now all that has been changing following Pulwama attack and Assam is uncertain which way the wind is blowing.
But Assam Small tea growers are with the Government and Industry if they decide to ban the export of tea to Pakistan but urged for minimum support price from the Government for basic survival of the huge industry.
India is the biggest supplier of green tea to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Kashmir and the bulk of the tea green tea goes from Assam, which in turn supplied by the 1,00,000 strong small tea growers of Assam.
The small tea growers of Assam are in unison with the big houses of the industry in full for baning of the tea exports to Pakistan following the Pulwama incident. However, they are fearing that this may trigger a price collapse of the green tea and that will seriously affect the small tea gardens of Assam.
The Indian Tea Association (ITA) President Vivek Goenka already said that the industry is ready to curb the tea exports to Pakistan following the Pulwama attack.
He also expressed confidence that new destinations like Russia, Egypt and middle east shall be explored.
Last year through the official route, 15.83 Million Tonne of tea have been exported to Pakistan through and there has been a steady increase of tea demand in Pakistan.
Similarly, there has been very heavy demand for Assam’s Green tea in Kashmir. The entire trade is controlled from Amritsar. Already in the past two year, the trade to Kashmir have been severely affected due to which supply chain has been affected down the line and price of green tea have collapsed in Assam affecting the small tea growers.
“We very much want export to Pakistan should be banned and support Government ‘s withdrawal of MFN status. However, till the situation improves and Assam and Indian tea find an alternative market, the government of India, Government of Assam and Tea Board should coordinate with the Industry for the minimum support price to the Small tea Growers of Assam” said Mr Gopal Krishna Khaund, President of the Small Tea Growers of Assam.
“All we want a steady price for the small tea growers so that Pakistan situation should not be used by the Industry to artificially push the price down,” he said.
His sentiment was echoed by Mr Bidyananda Barktokoy, adviser of the North East Tea Association(NETA) and former member of the Tea Board. “Pakistan must be punished for the heinous crime and at the same time Government must also see that small tea grower are not suffered,” said Mr Barkotoky, who had set up a Green Tea factory recently and will start making green tea from this season.