Speech by the CG at Longjing Tea Festival, Hangzhou - March 30, 2019 Speeches by the CG

Speech by the CG at Longjing Tea Festival, Hangzhou - March 30, 2019

Speech by Consul General at Longjing Tea Festival, Hangzhou

[1000 hrs, 30 March 2019]

Respected leaders of Zhejiang and Hangzhou Governments;

Other senior dignitaries;

Distinguished Participants, ladies and gentleman;

1.I am extremely happy to participate in this event which aims to create a platform for tea-culture exchange and also a forum to share the best practices in the field of tea plantation, research & development, processing & packaging, international trade etc.. It is certainly a great idea to link tea with tourism & healthy lifestyle to spread greater awareness of tea-culture and create additional sources of revenue for the tea industry. I congratulate the organizers for their wisdom.

2.India and China are among the oldest geographies for cultivation of tea and has enjoyed rich and diverse but continuous history of tea culture. This tea culture spread across the world and became so intrinsic that small breaks during day time are universally termed as ‘Tea Break’. It goes without saying that tea serves as a strong bond between India and China, which depicts partnership and linkage as well as reflection of intangible cultural practices of both the countries.

3.If we go back to history of tea in India, with modest beginning in 1780 today, India is the world’s largest producer and consumer of black tea. India has the distinction of producing a wide variety of top quality teas. Thanks to its geographical diversity and varied climatic regions.

4.Assam, Darjeeling, Nilgiri, Sikkim, Kangra and Dooars –Terai are main tea varieties from India and are popular word wide. The latest figures indicate that approximately 577,000 hectares of land is under tea cultivation. About 53% of the total production is from the State of Assam. In 2018, India’s total tea production was around 1350 million kgs.

5.India produces all kinds of tea- Black, Green, Oolong, White, Organic but the black and green tea are most preferred teas in the Chinese market. The high standard and unique quality of Indian tea is widely recognized in all parts of the world and receives continued appreciation in the Chinese market.

6.In order to provide authentic, good quality and genuine Indian tea, the Government of India with the help of Tea Board of India has provided trademarks and geographical indications (GI) for its products. You would be happy to note that many varieties of Indian tea has got GI status which is an indication to identify products originating from a definite territory, possessing a special quality or characteristics unique to its region of origin.

i. Darjeeling Tea is derived from 87 tea gardens in the Darjeeling region of West Bengal, India. The flavor of Darjeeling Tea is unparalleled and cannot be replicated. All tea plantations are situated at an altitude ranging from 600 to 2000 meters above sea level on steep slopes which ensures excellent drainage.

ii. Assam is the single largest contiguous tea growing region in the world. Assam tea is known for deep-amber liquor with a strong and malty taste, making it the preferred beverage for those who love a strong cup of tea. This tea is popularly called as Hongcha in China.

iii. Nilgiri Tea derives its name from the blue mountains which in India is termed as Nilgiris. The tea is grown at elevation ranging from 1000 to 2500 meters receiving 60 to 90 inches of rainfall. The liquor is golden yellow in colour and is a blenders’ dream.

iv. Kangra Tea is grown in the Mandi and Kangra districts; it is famous for its distinct flavoured green and black tea grown in the foothills of Himalaya.

7.Effective addressing the challenges of climate change which has led to increase in frequency and intensity of natural disasters is the need of the hour to ensure sustainability of tea production and its complete ecosystem. In addition, responding to the fast changing needs of market and customers preference in sustainable manner has been the key strategy for the Indian tea industry.

8.The Tea Board of India, the apex body for tea in India has developed ‘tustea code’ to evaluate social, economic, agronomic and environmental performance of tea plantations in India. This code covers all aspects of tea production; like plant protection products and adherence to safety standards for production of safer, healthier and more environmental friendly teas. India is of the view that effective adoption of food safety standards will enable the tea industry in safeguarding the plantation environment, welfare of workers and small farmers and long term supply-demand stability of the markets.

9.Plant Protection Code’ is issued to the tea industry as a comprehensive guidelines to achieve sustainability through ‘good agricultural practices’, and ‘integrated pest management’ through proper selection, judicious usage, scientific handling of pesticides so as to minimize its negative impacts on human wildlife and environment.

10.The Indian tea industry is continuously adopting the best practices across the globe to achieve the ‘residual tolerance limits’ prescribed by USA and European Union so as to maintain the high standards needed by the market.

11.You would be happy to know that Indian tea industry provides employment to millions of people and majority of them are women. The Government of India takes specific measures to ensure social, educational and economic wellbeing of the tea growers and workers.

12.China is an important market for Indian tea, the exports of Indian tea to China has seen a good momentum and shows signs of greater potential. However in order to attain its optimal market share, cooperation from the Chinese government is needed in terms of transparency, non-discrimination, predictability, openness, fairness and stability in policies. We also seek your help to curb misappropriation of Indian Tea Brand Names and protect the Geographical Indications.

13.We have brought few tea samples of Indian tea which is commercially traded in the Chinese market. We hope to receive your inputs, advice and suggestions for improving the market access of Indian tea varieties in the Chinese market and also on the ways and means to make it easily and readily available to the customers.

Thank you.