Nepal Tea in the name of Darjeeling Tea

The brand equity of Darjeeling tea has suffered in the hands of unscrupulous dealers selling Nepal tea in the name of the premium brand.

The concern was voiced by none other than Peter A. Leggatt, the chairman of Goodricke Group, who was here to participate in the inauguration of a new building of Goodricke School of Special Education.

“The tea coming from Nepal, which tastes almost the same as the Darjeeling variety, is being marketed worldwide as Darjeeling tea,” Leggatt told reporters. “Such a practice by a handful of unscrupulous traders is causing considerable damage to the repute of the Darjeeling tea.”

Though Leggatt said he was unaware of the amount of tea from outside (Nepal and Sri Lanka) being sold in the name of the world-famous brew, he called for immediate steps to be initiated in checking the malpractice.
He welcomed the Tea Board move to accord geographic-indicator status to Darjeeling tea. “It is a very positive step taken by the Tea Board, which has been very active on this issue,” he said.

The Darjeeling tea has been granted the geographic indicator status under the Good Registering and Protection Act. According to the Act, tea coming from only the 87 Darjeeling gardens, of which just 70 are operational, would be able to market their produce as “Darjeeling tea.”

Though no official estimates have been made about how much tea is being sold in the name of Darjeeling tea, it has been reported from several quarters that the volume of “non-Darjeeling tea” is quite high. Unofficial estimates have revealed that though the Darjeeling hills produce only about 9-10 million kg of tea every year, the “Darjeeling” tea sold worldwide is to the tune of 40 million kg annually.

“Some of the producers in the hills need to clean up their acts first,” said S.K. Saria, a planter and the chairman of Siliguri Tea Auction Committee.

“We are aware that a good number of producers are involved in procuring tea from Nepal and selling them off in the name of the Darjeeling brand, but we can do little to check the practice,” he added.

Source > The Telegraph