The union minister, in a video address to the stakeholders present at the National Small Tea Growers Conference, focused on the importance of promoting organic tea through marketing and leveraging India's position as a one-stop destination for various tea varieties.
He also called for targeting high-value markets like Europe, the US, and the Middle East.
The union minister also stressed the need for sustainable solutions to address climate change challenges and encouraged innovation across the entire tea supply chain.
He expressed confidence that this conference would catalyse positive transformations within the industry and enhance the livelihoods of valued tea growers.
On the occasion, Tea Board's former chairman Prabhat Bezbaruah said that it was imperative to support the small growers and empower them for quality tea production.
It is crucial for the organised sector and government bodies to support small tea growers in their journey towards quality tea production, he said.
The day-long conference was jointly organised by Solidaridad and the Confederation of Indian Small Tea Growers' Associations (CISTA).
During the conference, detailed discussions were held on the essential role of small tea growers in the Indian tea industry, their challenges, and the need for knowledge empowerment.
Solidaridad Network Asia Managing Director Shatadru Chattopadhyay pointed out that to understand the dynamics of the tea industry, it is evident that small tea growers are the unsung heroes of this story.
''They have not only managed to carve a niche for themselves but have also greatly contributed to the overall tea production in India. Their dedication, often amidst daunting challenges, is a testament to their commitment to the industry'', he said.
CISTA Chairman Bijoy Gopal Chakraborty emphasised the need for sustainable development of the tea industry and for empowering small growers with the knowledge and resources required to produce high-quality tea.
The stakeholders called for addressing the key challenges such as maintaining economic threshold limits for sustainable tea production, the knowledge gap among growers, and climate adaptation.
They also emphasised the need for quality improvement in tea production to ensure the industry's long-term viability, tackling issues of oversupply, rising production costs, and supply-demand dynamics.
The programme was organised with the support of All Assam Small Tea Growers Association, All Bodoland Small Tea Growers Association, Jalpaiguri District Small Tea Growers Association, and Small Tea Growers Association of South India.
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