Lemon grass gets European, US market

Panchathar, July 22:

Lemon grass that used to be planted to control the growth of insects affecting tea in a tea estate before, is now exported as a tea flavour to the western countries, including the US and Finland.

Phidim-based Kanchanjunga Tea Estate (KTE), said that lemon grass that has been planted in the tea estate earlier is used as a flavour in tea and is being exported to the foreign countries.

Out of some 300-kg of lemon grass produced at the KTE annually, 60 per cent is being exported to Finland and 40 per cent to the US.

Kanchanjunga Tea Estate has been planting lemon grass in 20 ropanies of land. Lemon grass

is planted in such land where tea could not be planted and in the places having the chances

of landslide.

“We started planting lemon grass as its smell helps in controlling insects affecting the tea plants,” Dilli Banskota, KTE executive director said.

“I requested a Finnish lady to taste the lemon grass and she liked the flavour of the grass” Banstoka said recalling how the lemon grass started to be used as a flavour.

“The lady took the specimen to Finland and demands started to pour in,” he said adding that

the Kanchanjunga Tea Estate has been exporting lemon grass for last two years. KTE exported 150-kg of lemon grass to Finland last year only.

However, the lemon grass has been used in other forms also like oil and fragrance. Kathmandu-based Jadibuti Processing Company and Samala Herbal Company are producing oil from the lemon grass. Oil with fragrance can be produced after processing the lemon grass.