Coimbatore, Aug 12 (PTI) The United Planters Association of Southern India has strongly objected to any move to tinker with the import duty structure, saying it will be counter-productive for the tea growing sector.
UPASI president A R Nagappan said that the industry employs 2.12 lakh growers and 11.65 lakh workers, of which more than 70 per cent are women and hence very important from the inclusive growth model pursued by the Government of India.
Nagappan's reaction comes in the wake of reports that tea Traders/Packeteers in the country have sought duty free imports of tea, in the context of marginal increase in tea prices due to lower production.
In a statement, he said that Indian tea production till June was lower mainly due to the initial lockdown measures introduced to control the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.This has led to some increase in the prices since mid-June 2020, which was very much needed for the sustenance of this agro industry.
The decline in the production till June 2020, was just 8.9 per cent of the total tea production in the country.
India being a surplus tea producing nation, exports around 18-20 per cent of its production. However, due to the pandemic, exports from India is down by 26.98 million kg in 2020 [January-May] and this quantity is available in the domestic market, Nagappan said.
The price increase witnessed in the last few sales does not substantiate the duty reduction argument, as the price increase for the period January to June in South India was lower by 9.4 per cent, he said.
That being the fact, the demand for duty reduction appears to be a ploy to jolt the present market sentiments, the UPASI president said.
UPASI requested the government that there should be no tweaking with the import duty of tea, currently at 100 per cent.
Any such move to reduce the import duty will be detrimental to the interest of growers and workers dependent on this agro industry,it added. PTI NVM BN WELCOME BN WELCOME