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Assam Bought Leaf Tea Manufacturer’s Association to shut down bought factories from June 1

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Dibrugarh, May 21: The Assam Bought Leaf Tea Manufacturer’s Association (ABLTMA) has made the decision to close down the bought leaf tea factories in Assam from June 1 for an indefinite period.

The decision comes as a result of tea buyers refusing to purchase tea produced in these factories due to the excessive use of pesticides.

Assam has over 200 bought leaf factories who purchased green tea leaves from the small tea growers who do not have their own factories.The bought leaf factories process the green tea leaves that are purchased from small tea growers in the state.

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The ABLTMA stated that they have been experiencing significant losses as buyers of dried tea are unwilling to purchase tea produced in the state’s factories due to the widespread use of pesticides by small tea growers.

Despite reaching out to the state government and the Tea Board of India for a solution, no resolution has been found, leading the ABLTMA to make the difficult decision to close down the factories.

Addressing the issue, Chand Kumar Gohain, the president of ABLTMA on Tuesday said, “Some small tea growers are using banned pesticides on raw leaves, exceeding the permissible limit set by the Tea Board of India. Consequently, tea leaves produced in these gardens contain high pesticide levels, leading to reluctance among buyers to purchase the dried tea. We are facing huge losses and various problems in this regard. Our association has also approached the state and central governments as well as the Tea Board of India concerning the issue, but to no avail.”

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The ABLTMA has also denied allegations made by the All Assam Small Tea Growers Association, claiming that the decision to shut down the factories was motivated by a desire to reduce the prices of raw leaves for small tea growers. The ABLTMA clarified that the prices paid to the small tea growers adhere to the rates set by the Tea Board of India, following the Price Sharing Formula.

The use of chemical pesticides in tea plantations without proper labeling has been a topic of concern. In December 2023, the Tea Board of India instructed all tea producers in the country to refrain from using any chemical pesticide that does not have a label claim for tea. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) also circulated a list of 20 banned insecticides, including Aldicarb-Aldrin, Chlordane, Lindane, Carbofuran, and DDT, among others.

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In Assam, small tea growers numbering around 1.22 lakh play an important role in tea production accounting for 47 per cent of the total tea produced in the state. However, the recent disagreement between the ABLTMA and small tea growers has created tensions within the industry. With the closure of bought leaf factories in Assam looming, it remains to be seen how this decision will impact both the small tea growers and the overall tea industry in the state.

Also Read: Offices in Tura keep Tri-color hoisted at half mast to mark the demise of Iranian President

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