Edappadi Palaniswami claims nearly 85,000 small and marginal tea growers hit by crash in the price of green tea leaves

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Small tea growers staging a relay fast over the fall in the price of green tea leaves at Kodanad village in Niligiris.

Small tea growers staging a relay fast over the fall in the price of green tea leaves at Kodanad village in Niligiris.
| Photo Credit: M. Sathyamoorthy

The AIADMK’s general secretary, Edappadi K. Palaniswami, on Friday, September 8, 2023, claimed that the livelihood of nearly 85,000 small and marginal  tea growers in the district of Nilgiris  had been affected due to a fall in the price of green tea leaves to ₹ 12 a kg. 

In a statement, Mr Palaniswami said there should be a “realistic” minimum support price (MSP) of  ₹33.5 a kg, taking into account the interests of the tea growers, judicial pronouncements and recommendations of the M.S.Swaminathan Commission on agriculture, Pointing out that the Naaku Betta Badagar Welfare Association was undertaking a fast since September 1 in this regard,, he contended the DMK regime had not considered the demand of the body. 

Recalling the steps taken by former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa while in power during 2001-06 for the welfare of the tea growers, Mr Palaniswami referred to providing a subsidy of  ₹2 a kg at that time and getting 100 gram packets of tea sold through fair price shops in the State. All these and other measures had benefitted 50,000 small tea growers.

In the light of the crash in the price of green tea leaves, the State government should call functionaries of the Association for talks; provide a subsidy of ₹ 10 a kg and urge the Central government to fix the MSP at  ₹ 33.5 a kg, Mr. Palaniswami added.

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