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Global campaign for Darjeeling tea

Darjeeling, Oct 20: The Tea Board is set to launch a multi-crore global campaign on Darjeeling tea following the product’s protection under the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (Trips) legislation framed under the auspices of the World Trade Organisation. The project will be undertaken in collaboration with the Darjeeling Tea Association.

The campaign is expected to start in India by November and efforts will be made to educate consumers, traders and law enforcing agencies on various aspects of the Geographic Indicator (GI) which was conferred on Darjeeling tea in 2003. The granting of this status of protected designation of origin essentially means that produce of only a particular region (Darjeeling) can pass for Darjeeling Tea.

“We will put up hoardings in Delhi, Calcutta, Bangalore, Mumbai with a signage of the Darjeeling tea estates. All major airports will also be covered in the campaign,” said Sanjay Bansal, chairman, Darjeeling Tea Association speaking over phone from Calcutta. Similar campaigns are also expected to dot the hill town and its major entry points.

The campaign will also be extended across the globe covering major tea-consuming countries like the UK, Germany, the US and Japan among others.

This move marks the first serious global campaign by the industry principals to make the consumers aware of the recent development following the product’s collateral by other WTO signatory countries. This has been made possible after India notified Darjeeling Tea under the country’s Geographic Indicator of Good Registration and Protection Act. Until then it was not mandatory for other countries to protect the Darjeeling tea.

Bansal admitted that the priority now was in making available authentic Darjeeling tea to the discerning consumers across the globe. “Earlier quality was just another issue but producers have now realised its importance,” said Bansal.

Apart from the campaign the industry is also expected to receive a major fillip following the implementation of the Agri-Export Zone (AEZ) for Darjeeling in the coming months. The ministry of Commerce had sanctioned AEZ for Darjeeling Tea in September 2004 but the status has not been implemented following delays in signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the state government, Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) and the Tea Board.

Apart from the financial aspect the new status is also expected to put in place a single window clearance for various aspects related to the Darjeeling Tea industry.

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