IMO to check Darjeeling Tea

The Tea Board of India and the principals of the industry have agreed to appoint an independent agency to audit the production process of Darjeeling Tea as part of the accountability monitoring of the brand.

The Institute of Marketecology (IMO), India, will work with the lawyers of the board to uphold the trade chain integrity of Darjeeling Tea (that is, ensure that what is sold as Darjeeling Tea is indeed produced from tealeaves plucked from the 87 registered gardens in Darjeeling).

The IMO is a Switzerland-based international agency, which has an office in India. It has been involved with the tea estates in Darjeeling in its capacity as the issuing authority of organic certificates. Now, said board chairman Basudeb Banerjee, the IMO would also check the production chain of Darjeeling Tea.

“We are hopeful that the IMO will cover all the registered gardens of brand Darjeeling in three years,” said Sandeep Mukherjee, the secretary of Darjeeling Tea Association.

The decision was taken and announced at a meeting chaired by Banerjee and attended by industry principals and the Darjeeling district administration in Calcutta today.

The move will compliment the online trade chain integrity system developed by DSS Software P (Ltd) on behalf of the board. The system demands that all the 87 gardens send daily factory and field reports to the board and the IMO is expected to monitor any anomalies detected in the production chain with the help of the software.

The board today also spelt out the ramifications of the Geographic Indicator (GI) Act and the penalty for violators. “We discussed both the civil and criminal remedies of GI violation,” said Mukherjee. Defaulters could be prosecuted with seven years’ imprisonment or a fine of Rs 2 lakh or both, he added.

Source: The Telegraph