Weather-hit tea sector asks for insurance coverage
03 May, 2014 01:01 PM
Badly hit with lack of rainfall, Indian small tea growers(STG) reiterated their old demand of coverage under Agriculture Crop Insurance schemes. STGs contribute over 30% to the total national tea yield.

"Entire eastern India tea belt is experiencing unprecedented heat wave and shortage of rainfall. Total rainfall from January till April 20, this year, has been 71 mm against requirement of 310 mm," said Mr. Bijoy Chakrovborty, President, Confederation of Indian Small Tea Growers' Association ( CISTA).

According to Meteorological record, mercury has already touched 37.9 degree Celsius in West Bengal tea belt at Dooars against long term average maximum temperature of around 32 Degree Celsius there in April.

"This has already drastically hampered output pulling it down to over 40% to 60%," said Mr. Chakroborty. Understandably, since small tea growers contribute over 30% of national yield, this downfall is a significant loss for total national output.

"Despite being highly dependent on the climatic whims, tea is not covered under schemes of Agriculture Insurance Co. of India Ltd. (AICIL) though rubber or coffee are covered. Our repeated request could not yield any positive result," said Mr. Chakrovborty.

As learnt, AICIL has started working on this with Indian Tea Board(ITB) years back. "We have taken joint steps and asked meteorology department for long duration weather data for every tea producing region," said, ITB Director (Development) Mr. G. Boriah earlier.

But, "Things are yet to find lights of reality," said Mr. Chakroborty. "At this juncture, we also want ITB to ensure a long term solution for the problem with subsidy for irrigation facilities for all STG on a priority basis. As well as an immediate financial compensation for crop loss is also needed for the STGs," he added.
Source : The Economic Times

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