Small growers on Amul mission

Siliguri, Nov. 19: Small tea growers of north Bengal are on a visit to Gujarat to study the success of Amul and replicate the model in their sector.

“We had been toying with the idea to visit Amul to witness the activities right from grassroots to the top level,” Bijoygopal Chakraborty, the vice-president of the Confederation of Small Tea Growers’ Associations of India and a grower of north Bengal, said over phone from Gujarat. “The opportunity finally came and we reached here yesterday to study how milk producers, who form the lowest rung in Amul, could taste success through a concerted effort and planning.”

The three-day visit to Gujarat was organised in association with the National Dairy Development Board.

“Self-help groups are mushrooming in our sector on a regular basis,” said Debasish Pal, another grower from north Bengal in the delegation. “Seeing that more growers are joining, we are contemplating on a plan to reach the consumer directly with our branded tea like what Amul is doing with its versatile range of products.”

The eight-member delegation has members from other tea producing states as well.

“If milk producers can unite, work on an accumulated capital along with financial assistance and take the help of technology to become a model cooperative movement in the country, why cannot the small tea growers, whose number is going up everyday, replicate the process?” Pal asked.

With the research organisations in India busy in working on value added products like specially flavoured tea, tablets, drink, chocolates and biscuits, the growers of the country are keeping their fingers crossed. “In case we take the strategy adopted by founders of Amul and get success, the value added products can be merchandised,” Chakraborty said.

During their visit to Gujarat, the small growers met with officials, milk producers and other stakeholders of Amul. “We witnessed how milk is accumulated and processed to make different products. Also, we got ideas how the producers are paid, what other facilities they enjoy, how the entire chain is maintained,” said a member of the delegation.