Nepal's TEA poses crisis for Darjeeling plantations, know what's the reason

Kolkata: Tea leaves imported under a free trade contract from Nepal are being sold as Darjeeling tea in Indian markets. Meanwhile, some producers also alleged that Nepal was deliberately sending "substandard tea" imported from China to Indian markets. After which tea growers in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal have now written to the tea board as well as state CM Mamata Banerjee. The increasing inflow and availability of tea from Nepal has had a direct impact on the prices of prestigious Darjeeling tea.

Its prices have fallen by 20 to 25 per cent over a year. People associated with the industry allege that a section of traders, in particular, are selling Nepal's tea as Darjeeling tea. Under the Legal Free Trade Agreement, anyone in India can import tea independently from Nepal. However, the price of Darjeeling tea in wholesale sales varies from Rs 320 to Rs 360 per kilogram on average. But Nepal's traditional tea price is less than half of it.

"It is not possible for the consumer to understand whether he is drinking Nepal's tea or Darjeeling. Both of them have the same taste and aroma to a great extent," said an official of a tea company that runs a plantation in Darjeeling. Industry sources say that about 1.6 crore kilograms of Nepali tea come to India every year, Out of which 30 to 40 lakh kg of tea is traditional in nature. This variety of tea affects the sale of Darjeeling tea. Tea with a special variety of Nepal is an alternative to Darjeeling tea in terms of taste, aroma and appearance.

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