Nepal Tea Getting Sold as Costly Darjeeling Tea
Price of Darjeeling variety rose to .₹ 1,273 per kg due to supply bottleneck leading to influx of duty-free Nepalese tea
Kolkata: Darjeeling tea has turned almost four times costlier in a year, with the average price rising to .₹ 1,273 per kg last week, an escalation that traders blamed on the ongoing political unrest in the hills which has hit supplies of the commodity.
Traders said the price rise has also led to an influx of Nepalese tea, which is being sold as Darjeeling tea at a premium price.
“Nepalese tea sellers are appointing one dealer or agent here who have a local GST number. Through them they are selling the tea and paying the 5% GST to the agents or dealers here. They are ready to shell out the extra buck a free trade agreement with Nepal Nepal look similar to Darjeeling tea, until brewed
get distributed in the system as Darjeeling tea
as they are getting better prices for their teas in India as there is a shortage of Darjeeling tea,” said SS Bagaria, former chairman of Darjeeling Tea Association.
As per industry estimates, 2-2.5 million kg of Nepalese teas have entered India. India has a free trade agreement with Nepal, under which Nepalese tea does not incur any import duty in India.
Tea from Nepal look similar to Darjeeling tea and even packeteers and blenders find it difficult to tell them apart. However, the difference becomes apparent when the tea is brewed.
Traders said that although importers bring in tea from Nepal, the tea gets distributed in the system as Darjeeling tea. “This is where it hurts Darjeeling tea,” said Bagaria.
According to traders, only 9,378 kg of Darjeeling tea has been catalogued by the Kolkata auction centre which will be put up for sale next week. Last week, Darjeeling tea from Balasun, Risheehat and Singbulli tea estates of Jayshree Tea Industries were put on sale at the auction. Other estates whose teas were offered at the auctions were Gopaldhara tea estate belonging to Gopaldhara Tea Company, Mim tea estate of Andrew Yule & Co, Rohini tea estate of Sona Tea, Namring Upper tea estate of Darjeeling Tea & Chinchona Association (HMP Group). Teas from Balasun Tea Estate fetched a price of .₹ 2,501 per kg at the auctions.
The 87 tea estates of Darjeeling produce 8.5-9 million kg annually. This year, the production of second flush tea came to a halt on June 9, when the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha started its agitation for a separate Gorkhaland.
According to traders, 9,378 kg of Darjeeling tea has been catalogued by Kolkata auction centre which will be put up for sale next week