The orthodox tea produced at Nilgiris has been awarded the status of geographical indication (GI) like the Darjeeling tea, said Tea Board of India’s executive chairman RD Nazeem at Coonoor on Thursday. The Nilgiri orthodox tea got the recognition as the 100th commodity in India, followed by Assam orthodox tea. Both teas now join Darjeeling tea and Kangra tea (grown in Himachal Pradesh) to have won this status.
In November 2007, the tea board made a representation to the Registrar of Geographical Indication, Chennai, for registering the Nilgiri orthodox tea under the Geographical Indication (registration and protection) Act, 1999. The recognition was bestowed on Nilgiri tea this December and would be valid for 10 years and can also be renewed. The registration would facilitate the authorised users to display the GI logo, which would indicate the place of origin and the special features, Mr Nazeem said. The tea produced in Coonoor and nearby places like Kotagiri, Kuntha, Kulakombe and Ooty are classified as Nilgiri tea. The total production of orthodox tea in these areas is around 15 million kg per year. The fragrance and flavour of these teas have been compared with some of the renowned Darjeeling teas.
Experts say because of GI tag, the Darjeeling tea got better prices even in bad years of global tea market. Therefore, the local planters are hoping for a price revival in Nilgiri orthodox tea following the GI recognition. The registration would enable the product to fetch higher prices both at international as well as local market, said Nilgiri Planters’ Association secretary OR Subramaniam. “It would also help check spurious teas and prevent unauthorised claims,” he added.