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Transformation to Organic Production among the Small Tea Holders for Sustainability – Myth or Reality?

K.N. Selvaraj and R. Ganesh

No 284865, 2017 ASAE 9th International Conference, January 11-13, Bangkok, Thailand from Asian Society of Agricultural Economists (ASAE)

Abstract: The focus of the paper is to analyze the problems and issues in transformation to organic tea production, price benefits that can be accrued, present level of organic production and farmers’ awareness and adoption using both the primary and secondary data collected from various published sources and personal interview of the sample of farmers. The sample of farmers comprises of 100 beneficiaries of Participatory Guarantee System of India (PGSIndia), four Small Tea Growers Societies, Certified Organic Tea Estate sector and three organic large tea growers including Small Tea Farmers’ Producer Company. Time series data on domestic prices, export prices for tea and organic tea, area under tea cultivation, productivity - before and after conversion were collected and analyzed. Though organic tea production is gaining momentum among the small tea growers, yield reduction after conversion is a major threat. Despite the fact that there is a yield reduction, our sample of organic tea growers were benefitted from higher remunerative price for their green tea leaves due to adoption of quality tea plucking practices with opinion that formal certification would help them to realize better prices due to market acceptance. As long as Small Tea Growers (STGs) could be able to realize premium market prices, they are ready for conversion. We also found from the soil sample analysis that there would be long term beneficial impact of organic tea cultivation on soil and productivity. Export price for organic tea is twice than that of normal tea but export share was minimal emphasizing the need for higher level of export for which formal certification is crucial since the organic tea exporters cannot source tea from uncertified STG organic farms. The awareness for certification is lacking though trainings and demonstration are being carried out by the various agencies. In this context of crisis of continuous price fall and loosing the export markets due to competitiveness, organic production is one of the alternatives among the STGs to have decent livelihood in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu State of India. Creating awareness and resorting to formal certification to compete in the global market are warranted. The role of Primary Producers Societies (PPS) is critical in enforcing the quality for organic tea production and marketing.

Keywords: Crop; Production/Industries (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017-01
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