Centre takes steps to curb import of sub-standard tea

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New Delhi: The Centre has taken a strict step to ensure that sub-standard teas are not imported and distributed in India. A notification in this regard was issued on November 11, 2021.

As per the directions of the Minister of Commerce and Industries, four circulars have been issued by the Tea Board on 11.11.2021 under the Tea Marketing Control Order, 2003, Tea (Distribution and Export) Control Order, 2005 for protection of Darjeeling GI as detailed below:

  • All importers have been directed to ensure that origin of imported tea is mentioned in all their sale invoices and not to pass off imported tea as teas of Indian origin.
  • All distributors of tea have been directed not to blend cheap and inferior quality imported teas with Indian Origin teas for domestic consumption.
  • Manufacturers of Darjeeling tea have been directed not to purchase green leaf from the outside GI area.
  • The tea buyers have been directed not to blend imported tea with teas of Darjeeling/Kangra/Assam (Orthodox)/Nilgiri (Oththodox).

In order to ensure compliance with the above directions, Tea Board has started surprise checks on distributors/importers, especially of Nepal Tea.

A surprise check of three units in Siliguri was conducted on 11.11.2021 and samples were drawn for testing, the Ministry of Commerce & Industry informed in a press release.

It may be noted that there have been some reports highlighting a surge in the import of tea, which is adversely affecting the Domestic Indian Tea Industry.

Maintaining that this is not true, the ministry said that the percentage of imports to total tea production is normally in the range of 1- 2%, out of which sizeable quantity is meant for re-export and not meant for domestic use.  

It added that “the main purpose of tea import into India is re-export upon value addition and for blending purposes.  As compared to India’s tea production, tea imports are minimal”. (Press Release)   


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