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

The Economic Times - - Finance & Commodities - Su­tanuka.Ghosal @times­group.com

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

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