The West Bengal government will look to focus on promoting Darjeeling tea as a luxury offering.
According to Vandana Yadav, Managing Director, WBIDC is already working on plans where it can promote tea from some gardens as premium brands and a luxury offering.
“We are working on promoting Darjeeling tea in a major way. Right now it is sold in bulk. We would look to position it as a premium or luxury offering,” she told reporters on the sidelines of the annual regional meeting of the eastern region of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
According to Yadav, there are some 30-odd brands that can be positioned and promoted as a luxury offering.
The focus on promoting Darjeeling tea comes after the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha – the most predominant party in the Darjeeling hills – called for an over 100-day shutdown last year. This severely affected tea production in the region leading to supply shortages in global and export markets.
Darjeeling tea already has a GI tag and a specific logo. The unique ‘muscatel’ flavour of the Darjeeling teas is preferred by tea-drinkers. A GI tag covers agricultural products and food stuffs which are closely linked to the geographical area, with at least one of the stages of production, processing or preparation taking place in the protected area.
Around 8 million kg of this premium agricultural produce is grown on the slopes of the eastern Himalayas in some 87 gardens spread over 17,500 acres. Apart from EU nations like Germany, Japan and US are the important export markets for Darjeeling tea.
According to Yadav, the state government will look at facilitating B2B meetings and other activities that would facilitate better access to markets. Asked for specific details, the senior bureaucrat said branding plans are being worked out.