Friday, October 26, 2007

Geographic Indication Tag for Darjeeling Tea

India is hoping to make Darjeeling Tea an exclusive product of India.

The tea variety will soon have a geographical indication (GI) in all international markets. At present, Champagne is the only product that commands a GI worldwide. The issue of GI for Darjeeling Tea has been debated for the last couple of years in various national and international forums.

While the government has filed for GI in the US and Canada, it has also perked up the process in other international markets. India is the second largest producer of tea in the world and Darjeeling Tea is considered to be its most sought-after variety. Despite this, India commands less than 13% share in the export market. Also planned is the set up of a body to monitor and regulate tea exporters.

Import of tea from India has been banned in some East Asian countries, mainly on quality issues. Till about the early 1990’s, India happened to be one of the leading tea exporters in the world. This share has continuously dipped since then, due to various reasons. However, in the last 6-7 years, there have been an aggressive takeover of tea gardens by corporates, and almost 80% tea production lies with the organised sector now.

Blog Note: This is a long time coming and may finally put some integrity back in the Darjeeling market. Our sales of darjeeling slip every year as the market is flooded with questionable product.

On another note, we have greatly expanded our offerings of Oolong tea and have included several offerings from China (in addition to our traditional Formosa Oolongs).

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