Executive director of the Tea Board of India Rakesh Saini told a workshop of small tea growers that the process of registration of the small tea growers in Assam has not picked up so far.
"We have simplified the process of registration. Now the growers need to produce only three documents - the receipts of land revenue payment, a map of the plantation and a no objection certificate (NOC) by the government of Assam," Saini said.
The registration with the Tea Board will help the growers with bank loans for their plantation and they can claim various subsidy schemes of the state and central government besides taking part in the exposure trips being organized by the Tea Board of India from time to time.
There are over 70,000 small tea growers (having only 10 to 12 hectares of land) in Assam and these small tea growers produce about 30 percent of Assam's total tea production. The small tea growing sector has also given employment to about three lakh unemployed youth of the state.
"The Board is going to register about 40,000 small tea growers by the financial year 2012-13," he said and appealed to the small tea growers of Assam to come forward for registration.
The registration of small tea growers is being initiated as part of the Tea Board's move to improve the overall quality of tea by way of monitoring it.
Meanwhile, General Secretary of the All Assam Small Tea Growers' Association (AASTGA) Karuna Mahanta said the Association is going to launch an awareness drive throughout the state from March 29 to April 14 this year for creating awareness about the registration drive of the Tea Board.
"While the numbers of small tea growers have increased in the state over the years, the quality of the tea has not been steady. The registration drive will not only help the growers but also help in maintaining the quality of the tea. However, many growers are not aware about the registration process and the benefits of registering with the Tea Board," he said and hoped that more small growers will come up after the awareness drive.