This blog is dedicated to the People Led Development (PLD) approach in development sector. The blog reflects PLD stories and experiences from the fields of North East (NE) India, a repository of several ethnic groups with unique tradition and culture.
PLD is the integral component of a project titled Facilitating Agriculture Regeneration (FARM) in North East India. FARM is being implemented by partners in 7 states of NE India except Sikkim and supported by Caritas India.
Wednesday, 16 September 2015
COMMUNITY REJECTS MIDDLE MAN
is home to tea gardens & New Khamlang village in Changlang District of
Arunachal Pradesh was not an exception to this. This village not only consumes
tea but also grows it. Almost every household has on an average 1 to 2 acres of
land exclusively for tea cultivation. The proximity of this place to the
neighbouring state of Assam perhaps could have made tea a popular cultivation. “I don’t know since when but tea cultivation
has been an integral component of our society and it will remain to be so
forever, said Gaon Burah (village headman), a septuagenarian from the
New Khamlang with
a population of 511 is growing tea as one its income generation activities. “We cultivate tea as it has always got demand
in the market and gives us an income though not satisfying enough”, said Pondang Sangwal a farmer from New Khamlang. It has been a popular practice
until the change happened that the people would usually sell their tea to the
middlemen at a throw away price. The middlemen would come on regular intervals
to the village and bargain the cost as per his will sighting several reasons
that the innocent people would never contest. The people were selling tea
hardly at Rs. 10 to 12 per kilogram. “We
were compelled to sell our tea at such a rate as we thought that we did not
have touch with the actual market from where we could get a better price”,
said Dangrem Ngaimong.
The FARM North
East partner Seva Kendra Arunachal East (SKA) while promoting agricultural
activities was also motivating people to take up marketing of their products in
order to earn more. SKA was aware of the middle men playing spoilsport with the
small tea growers by depriving them of what they deserve. “The issue of marketing has always been a stumbling stone for us to
deal with due to many reasons but we are trying hard to see to it that the
people get their share of benefits by growing tea”, said Mintu Mosahary,
the project Coordinator.
Team SKA put in
its weight behind the community of New Khamlang village & suggested them to
contact the Manager of the tea processing factory at Kharsang. The community was
told that they have an option of selling their tea leaves to this factory &
that they have a high probability of getting a much better price than what
being offered by the middle men.
Community involved in meeting
started thinking on the lines suggested by Team SKA. “We sat together with our village elders and discussed thoroughly on
what best could be done to help ourselves to derive maximum benefits”, said
Ms. Rumba Ngaimong. They approached the Manager of the tea factory during the
August 2015 & held a couple of rounds of meetings with him to share their
grievances and requested him to help them.Village elders & women represented the group that met the Manager.
Tea leaves loaded on the vehicle to sent to factory
The Manager gave
them a patient hearing and asked them to strike a deal with a formal contract. He
asked the villagers to supply tea leaves on a daily basis to the factory during
the season. “We were taken by surprise
when we found the Manager coming forward to help us as we thought that it may
not an easy job”, said Kumjung Hachang, Anchal Samiti member (ASM).
The community after
returning to New Khamlang shared the piece of information all and requested
them to cooperate fully. “When we came
know about the good news that we would be selling our tea leaves to the factory
our happiness was to the extreme”, said Ms. Nyasham Hachang.The people of New Khamlang also fixed a
vehicle that would carry the tea leaves on a daily basis to the factory at
The middle man
thus became a history in New Khamlang today. The small tea growers are selling
their tea leaves at a rate of Rs. 20 to 25 per kilogram to the factory. “We realised the true meaning of the famous quote that says Where there is will, there is a Way”, said
a beaming Ms. Resham Ngaimong.
Contributed by: Mintu Mosahary, Coordinator, SKA East, Arunachal Pradesh
Edited by: Prabal Sen, Caritas India, Guwahati, Assam