Himalayan News Service

Ilam, March 12:

Nepali tea is being sold in the international market using the Darjeeling trademark, revealed concerned tea entrepreneurs.

This is a kind of a compulsion since there are not sufficient factories in Ilam to refine green tea leaves being produced in the area, said Dil Kumar Raut, manager at Ilam Tea Producers.

According to a survey, since tea plants in tea estates of Darjeeling are very old compared to those available in Nepal, the quality of Nepali tea is better than those being produced in Darjeeling area.

In order to improve the quality of tea by putting in Nepali tea leaves, Indian tea entrepreneurs buy green tea leaves from Nepal at a much higher price.

In peak season, some 50,000 kilograms of tea is produced every day in the area located on the eastern side of Mai river.

The five local tea factories are reported to be refining 32,000 kilograms of green tea leaves every day on an average, with rest of the tea being exported to Darjeeling, said manager Raut.

"We are going to introduce our own trademarks soon, so that we can build our recognition in third countries, informed Chandra Bhusan Suba, executive director at Himalayan Orthodox Tea Product Association. Despite its superior quality, Nepali tea so far is being sold in the international market using somebody else’s trademark, said Suba.

"We are trying to locate a good market where we can export our products using our own trademark," quoted Suba.

He added that since Nepali tea is exported through Kolkota port to third countries, it uses Indian trademarks, added he.

Once Nepali tea begins to be exported to the international market using its own identity, it should be ensured that it is marketed as an organically produced product, feel the experts.

Till about few years back, the quantity of chemical fertilizers and medicines being used in

tea plantation was 3.0. This has now reportedly fallen down to zero per cent.

With high demand for organic tea in the international market, farmers are learning to use natural fertilizers instead of chemical fertilisers to grow tea.

The future of Nepali tea seems to be bright, particularly in the international market, said S K Pradhan, a tea expert.