Europe buys more Darjeeling tea in 2015…
KOLKATA: European countries have bought more Darjeeling tea this year, which may help its producers in the Himalayan foothills cope with the rising cost of production to some extent. Higher purchase by EU countries is an indication that they are gearing up to sell only 100 per cent Darjeeling tea from 2016, as the product’s Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status curbs selling of blended teas with the Darjeeling tag.
“EU is expected to pick up more tea from India as it has to offload its entire inventory of the so called ‘Darjeeling tea’ and start procuring 100 per cent fresh Darjeeling tea to serve customers from 2016,” said SS Bagaria, chairman of the Darjeeling Tea Association (DTA).
The European Commission registered Darjeeling tea in 2011 as a PGI product, making it the first commodity from India to get the status. The tag means tea produced only in Darjeeling can be sold as Darjeeling tea in the EU countries, Bagaria said.Blenders who had been selling mixed teas as Darjeeling were then given five years to shift to 100 per cent Darjeeling tea.
Even though exports to the EU have increased, the price realisation has not gone up from last year, the DTA chairman said.
“The cost of production is rising every year. But the price is not going up in tandem with the cost of production.”
Exports of Darjeeling tea are expected to be about 4 million kilograms in 2015, which are 30,000-40,000 kg higher compared with 2014. Darjeeling’s 87 tea estates have produced 8 million kg of tea this year.
For quality Darjeeling tea producers like Makaibari Tea, 2015 has been a good year. “We are into organic tea and we have fetched a price of $25 (Rs 1,662) for 10 grams of our tea. The weather has been conducive throughout the year which has further improved our quality.But this may not be the same trend across all gardens. Quality varies from garden to garden,” said Rudra Chatterjee, director, Makaibari Tea.Makaibari’s quality tea had fetched Rs 1.21 lakh a kg last year.
While the price fetched by Makaibari Tea is on the top end, sources said some gardens have been able to garner Rs 7,000 per kg at private sales.
Source: The Economic Times India