Indian tea will bank on location branding

February 20th, 2008 - 5:17 pm ICT by admin  

By Aroonim Bhuyan
Dubai, Feb 20 (IANS) India will promote its teas globally based on the product’s place of cultivation such as Darjeeling, Assam and Nilgiri, the chairman of the country’s tea board has said. “Positioning the tea by indicating the source and quality on the packet is critical for long-term sustainability of the (Indian tea) industry in the global context,” the chairman, Basudeb Banerjee, said at the 2nd Global Dubai Tea Forum 2008 here.

Whatever is claimed on the packet or in advertisements should not be misleading, he said. “The major origin teas of India are Assam, Darjeeling and Nilgiri.”

Stating that the identities of these teas have been protected through a series of logos over the past two decades, he said: “Legal protection of Darjeeling tea dates back to the mid-eighties when the logo was introduced. Today, Darjeeling is also protected with the ‘geographical indication’ or GI certification.”

He said efforts were on to give GI certification to Assam and Nilgiri teas, which, as of now, are being protected by logos.

India ranks next to China in terms of tea production.

Of the 3.37 million hectares in the world under tea cultivation, 0.53 million hectares are in India. Of the total global production of 3.5 billion kg, India’s share is 956 million kg.

Exports of Indian tea stood at over 156 million kg in 2007.

Speaking about recent public policy initiatives of the Tea Board of India, Banerjee said that his organisation has been coordinating with the National Stock Exchange to set up electronic tea auction platforms in Guwahati, Siliguri, Kolkata, Coimbatore, Coonoor and Kochi.

The board has also embarked on an ambitious re-plantation programme by offering soft loans and subsidies with a target of uprooting and replanting in 200,000 hectares in 15 years.

“We are also focusing on research and development, especially at the factory level, and collaborating with world-class institutes like the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, for this,” Banerjee said.

The board has tied up with the Indian Space Research Organisation for developing a geo-database of the Indian tea industry through remote sensing satellite.

Incentive schemes have also been introduced to encourage production of orthodox tea in India, which now stands at 94 million kg.

According to Banerjee, the board is laying great stress on the welfare of India’s three million workforce in the tea industry, half of whom are women.

Encouraging small tea growers is another focus area of the board, he said.

“We are encouraging small tea growers across the nation. This phenomenon has grown exponentially in the last five years.”

India is among 29 countries participating in the Dubai tea forum.

The two-day biennial event concluded Wednesday.

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