January 27, 2022

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Darjeeling planters at Bengal CM door for blanket ban on Nepal tea

3 min read
Kolkata: The Darjeeling Tea Association (DTA), the umbrella system of 87 tea gardens in the Hills, has prepared to chief minister Mamata Banerjee trying to get her urgent intervention to “save the industry” by facilitating a blanket ban on the import of inexpensive and minimal-top quality leaves from Nepal, which has been tarnishing the graphic and international model benefit of the legendary brew.
Darjeeling tea is India’s 1st geographical indicator (GI)-tagged merchandise, which makes sure that none other than people authorised are allowed to use and promote it.
Considering the fact that the last 10 years, the Hills tea yard house owners have been urging the Centre to ban sale and distribution of Nepal tea in bulk and implement publication of a label of origin, FSSAI compliance and customs checks on it.
In a letter to the CM on September 1, DTA chairman B K Saria wrote: “Production of Darjeeling tea soon after the extended crisis of 2017 has come down from 9.5 mkg to all-around 6 million kg (mkg) in 2020, whilst salaries/wages of garden staff have gone up by close to 50%. Coupled with this, the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic has affected equally the domestic and exports market. The crisis has been further more compounded by the sale of deceptive Nepal tea being bought in the Indian industry as ‘Darjeeling Tea’.”
According to an estimate by DTA, in 2020, around 9 mkg of tea was imported from Nepal and sold to “naive” prospects as Darjeeling tea. As per the Board, 69.4 mkg of Nepal tea has been imported to India in the past four decades, of which only about 26.6 mkg has been re-exported, underlining the fact that the relaxation 42.8 mkg of imported leaves have been bought in India.
In August 2020, the Centre experienced cleared a prolonged-pending revision of the Indo-Nepal trade treaty, which would now make sure examining of mandatory sanitary and phytosanitary certification for importing tea from the Himalayan nation.
Nevertheless, the DTA, in the letter, complained that tea leaves imported lawfully from Nepal are not subjected to any examine by the Indian food stuff high quality watchdog, FSSAI. “Also, Nepal tea is sold at a a great deal cheaper charge than the Darjeeling cuppa as its cost of generation is incredibly reduced owing to rampant use of baby labour and gross violation of labour laws,” it adds.
Describing the gravity of the scenario, Sandeep Mukherjee, principal advisor to DTA, explained: “Darjeeling tea business is not acquiring the necessary attention that it deserves. Until import of Nepal tea into India is banned, the livelihood of all those dependent on it would be at hazard and may possibly achieve a stage of no return, the place far more tea gardens in the Hill would shut down.”
In accordance to DTA, there are all-around 67,000 people involved with the Hills tea sector instantly and 4 lakh indirectly.
The Board in September last calendar year had officially created DTA (“an equal spouse in the defense of Darjeeling GI”), a joint authority to observe, enforce and report on the producers, who combine and sell illegally imported Nepal tea less than the ‘Darjeeling’ brand name title.

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