From The Economic Times:
Darjeeling tea companies likely to perform better this year
Darjeeling tea companies, which had suffered a setback last year due to a drop in production, are likely to perform better this year as the crop situation has improved and enquiries from the overseas markets have picked up significantly. Even quake-hit Japan has sent feelers to the Darjeeling producers for picking up good volumes of tea to meet the country’s demand.
Britain’s high street departmental store Harrods is also set to procure premium Darjeeling tea this year. “Harrods officials will come in June to place their requirements and tea companies hope to have a good deal with them,” said Sanjay Bansal, chairman of Ambootia Group. The second flush teas will be available in the market from June onwards.
Production of tea has increased by at least 25% compared to previous year. “Last year, production got affected due to a drought-like situation. We lost the premium first and second flush teas, which fetch maximum revenues for tea companies. But this year the weather has improved and this will have a good impact on the production ,” said Ashok Lohia, chairman of Chamong Tee.
Chamong Tee is the largest Darjeeling tea producer. Last year, Darjeeling had produced 8 million kg tea, which was lowest in last decade. There is an expectation that production this year will be around 10 million kg. The appreciation of Euro will also help Darjeeling tea exporters as most of Darjeeling teas are exported to European Union countries. “This will be definitely a good year for the Darjeeling tea companies,” said Bansal. Incidentally, there was an embargo on exports in March due to the agitation launched by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha . “The exports got delayed due to the agitation.
We are now busy in meeting the export enquiries. These export enquiries are for the first flush teas, which are entirely exported ,” said an official of Darjeeling tea industry. In the domestic market, the demand for Darjeeling tea is increasing. “Though the first and second flush teas are high-priced and are largely exported, there has been an interest among the domestic consumers for these teas. We are seeing a shift among the consumers from average tea to quality tea,” said a retailer.