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Budget 2013: Small tea grower’s demand for subsidized fertilizer remained unheard

Thursday, 28 February 20130 comments

NBS Times Report

Siliguri Feb 28: The national apex body of near 27000 Indian small tea growers had heartbreak today. Their demand for subsidized fertilizers for tea sector like other agriculture sectors did not find any place in FM's budget speech.

"We have expected a lot on this especially after
Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce also reported in favour of our demand,” said Bijoy Gopal Chakraborty, Secretary of Confederation of Indian Small Tea Growers Associations (CISTA).

"Despite being highly dependent on fertilizers, we are not entitled to subsidized fertilizers. We wanted an end of this apathy," he added. "These schemes could be highly beneficial for plantations in both- organized as well as unorganized sector," said K. Basu, Secretary General of 
Tea Association of India.

"Tea in India is not considered purely as agriculture practice. So, during indenting fertilizer quota, agriculture departments of tea producing states do not include fertilizer needed for tea sector. Naturally, the indented volume remains much lesser than actual combined need of tea and other agriculture crops. This generates artificial crisis forcing us to procure fertilizer at 30% to 40% higher price from open market," said Chakraborty.

Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce has stated in its report number 102, "The problem of increased cost of fertilizers with no subsidy benefit is one of the main factors behind less productivity and also high cost of production (of tea). The Committee would like the Department to ensure that fertilizers subsidy is available to (tea) growers."

According to experts Government will not have to take huge volume of additional financial load to allow this subsidy. Tea sector needs only around 0.3 million ton of NPK fertilizer per annum, that is a tiny fraction of total national demand of around 26 Million ton.

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