During the visit the Hon'ble Minister had an interactive session organised by Tea Board India in support from the Indian Tea Association (ITA) on September 29, 2021 at Guwahati, wherein all the stakeholders of tea sector including small tea growers, producers associations, bought leaf manufacturers association, Tea Research Association and labour union participated.
On September 30, 2021, the Hon'ble Minister visited the tea plantation and factory and interacted with the management and workers of Amchong tea estate in Kamrup (Metro) District.
This was followed by visit to the Guwahati Tea Auction Center where there was interaction with the representatives from tea brokers, buyers, auction organisers and warehouses. Interaction was also held with the Commodity boards like Tea Board India, Coffee Board, Rubber Board, Spices Board and with APEDA and with their entrepreneurs and exporters who showcased their products.
During the interactions various issues impacting the cost competiveness and the long-term viability & sustainability of the Assam Tea Industry in particular and other commodities from Assam like rubber, spices etc. were discussed towards fulfilling the production and export potential from the State and attaining the supply-demand equilibrium in the process.
The Hon'ble Minister shared a brief outline of the Governments policies & programmes vis-a-vis the Plantation sector oriented towards holistic development & growth of the Industry in the years to come. The Government has approved the Tea Development & Promotion Scheme for the period 2021-22 to 2025-26 with an outlay of 967.78 Cr focussing on small tea growers for collectivisation, organic farming and exports, which includes a sum of Rs. 98.08 Cr for Sector Specific Plan for exports from the NER. Rs 298.76 Cr has been approved for clearing the pending subsidies of the Tea Board India.
A sum of Rs. 1000 Cr has been approved exclusively for the overall development of tea garden workers in Assam and West Bengal, particularly for women workers and their children in the areas of health, education and skill development.
Further, theMinsitry of Commerce, Government of India, in collaboration with the State Government will set up packaging and training facilities in Assam for agricultural and other commodities. A NABL accredited laboratory will be set up in Assam for the testing of spices and other products.
The Hon'ble Minister requested all stakeholders to come up with a self-sustainable model for holistic development and pledged Government support for such model for developing Assam as an export hub.