Cheaper imports of Nepal tea under the trade agreement had caused damage to high-class Darjeeling Tea
The Government has said no separate relief scheme for Darjeeling Tea is under consideration at present, the Rajya Sabha was told on Friday.
Anupriya Patel, Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, was replying in the Upper House to a query on the crisis among growers of Darjeeling Tea.
The member wanted to know whether the Government was aware that cheaper imports of Nepal tea under the trade agreement had caused damage to high-class Darjeeling Tea, and asked if the Government is considering any relief scheme to protect Darjeeling tea from further destruction.
The Minister said the Darjeeling Tea is protected by certification trade mark and GI (geographical indication) and has a distinct logo.
Tea Board fiat
Highlighting the actions taken by the Government on the recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on Commerce regarding the influx of Nepal tea, she said the Tea Board has issued instructions on November 11, 2021, directing all importers and buyers of tea to ensure that origin of imported tea to be mentioned in all their sale invoices and not to pass off imported tea as tea of Indian origin.
All distributors and blenders of tea have been directed that the label should clearly indicate on the packaging that the contents of the blended tea are imported, giving the source of origin of imported tea irrespective of whether the imported tea has been bought directly or through an intermediary.
All importers shall inform about the place of storage of such imported tea to the nearest Tea Board office within 24 hours of entry of such tea into India, she said.
The Minister said the production of Darjeeling Tea stood at 7.15 million kg during 2021-22 as against 6.74 million kg in 2020-21.
To a separate query on the roadmap for revolution in agriculture sector, Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, said evergreen revolution in the sector is the improvement in productivity in perpetuity without ecological and social harm. It takes care of the adverse impacts of climate change, environmental pollution, soil degradation, groundwater depletion and loss of biodiversity for increasing yield.
Stating that the objective is to produce more crop from less water, less land, less pesticide, less fertilizer, he said evergreen revolution is necessary for ensuring food, nutrition and environmental security in a sustainable manner.
For evergreen revolution, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is continuously working on development of high-yielding and climate-resilient varieties. During the last eight years (since 2014 to till date), National Agricultural Research System (NARS) under the aegis of ICAR has released 2,122 high-yielding stress-tolerant crop varieties / hybrids of field crops, he said.
These included 1,008 varieties of cereals (rice 496, wheat 132), 310 of oilseeds, 313 of pulses, 277 of fibre / commercial crops, 130 of forage crops, 68 of sugarcane and 16 others for different agro-climatic zones of the country.
Stating that all the above varieties have been included in the seed chain, the Minister said breeder seed is being produced and supplied on the requirement of the states and other seed production agencies as per seed rolling plans of the states.
During 2017-18 to 2021-22, total 5,701 tonnes breeder seed of more than 1,400 varieties of 56 crops have been produced and supplied to various public and private seed production agencies for their downstream multiplication to foundation and certified seed, he said.