Wider Darjeeling tag
Darjeeling green tea and white tea have received a geographical indication (GI) tag from the Indian government in a move that is expected to enforce exclusivity to these products in the domestic and overseas markets.
The two varieties of tea received registration under the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act, 1999. Tea Board of India and Darjeeling Tea Association now plan to apply for protected GI status in Europe.
Even though from 2003 onwards Darjeeling tea is under GI protection, which bars any producers other than 87 gardens on the Darjeeling hills to use the tag for their tea, the description of the product was that of black tea.
Some unscrupulous companies took advantage of the situation and started selling green and white tea with the Darjeeling tag even though they were not from those 87 gardens.
“The popularity of Darjeeling green tea is on the rise. Moreover, the white tea is much sought after among connoisseurs in India and abroad. It fetches good premium too. With this tags, we will now be able to protect all three major varieties of Darjeeling teas — black, green and white — in the domestic and international markets,” Kaushik Basu, secretary-general of the DTA, said.
While the annual production from Darjeeling hills hovers around 8.5 million tonne, the green variety, which gained benefit for its supposed health benefit, is about 1 million tonne and white tea is about 1 lakh tonne.