From A Correspondent
Tura, Aug 29: Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said single window clearance has been accorded for expansion of tea factories in the State to address the problems of tea growers.
The Chief Minister made this announcement at a gathering of tea growers of West Garo Hills at Rongram Horti-Hub near here on Tuesday. During the programme, Mukul heard the problems of the tea growers and said there is a need to understand the recent market trends and balance demand and supply of fresh tea leaves.
He also urged the tea growers to go for organic certification of their products. “Increase in tea plantation in Garo Hills with supply chain becoming surplus, the tea growers have failed to get good returns for their produce,” he said, while stating that the issue needs to be addressed urgently.
Mukul counseled the tea growers with words of encouragement and assured them to develop a market-friendly atmosphere. “There is a need to generate demand for tea products not only within the region but also outside with multiple and innovative ideas,” he mooted.
The Chief Minister said the State would go for organic certification of tea grown in the region under Mission Organic. Towards this end, the department has formulated a scheme to improve the quality of tea and training would be given to tea farmers on making tural fertilisers and tural pesticides by using locally available resources, he informed the gathering.
He, however, said the move for organic certification should not be done on individual level and called for all farmers to come together as the agenda of the government is to work in partnership with them.
He also advised the farmers that instead of depending on tea plantation alone they should go for multiple plantations and urged them to take up plantation of black pepper of Pennyur variety, which does not require thick overgrowth and suitable to be grown in tea gardens.
Mukul, along with other dignitaries, also distributed saplings to the tea farmers on the occasion and asked them to take up bamboo, agar and other plantations that would fetch them good income.
Announcing a special scheme for tea tourism through the Horticulture Department, Mukul called upon the department to have entrepreneurship programmes for training farmers to create tea tourism, adding that the responsibility of the department is not only to provide saplings, but should also protect the interests of the farmers and take their potentialities to new heights.