Wednesday, June 30, 2010

US, Canada to import more Nilgiri tea

P S Sundar
First Published : 05 Mar 2010 03:48:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 05 Mar 2010 07:22:14 AM IST

COONOOR: Concluding its four-day intensive tour of Nilgiri tea areas on Thursday, a team of leading importers from the US and Canada has indicated the possibility of increased purchases of Nilgiri tea in coming months.
“Overall, we had a positive experience in Nilgiris. We are impressed with the quality of Nilgiri tea, cultivation and manufacture process, ISO certifications, worker welfare measures, including school, hospital, housing and crèche, fair trade practices, rain forest norms and ethical partnership. We will consider importing higher volume of Nilgiris tea,” Manik Jayakumar, team leader, told Express at Glendale Estate here after interacting with K Gopal Krishnan (Glendale director), K V Shenai (group manager) and K Rajmohan (general manager). “In particular, we will be supporting speciality teas like those grown under frost impact and in cold season, teas that suit our making Ice Tea which is highly popular with our consumers, silver tips and white tea, organic tea, tulsi tea and decaffeinated tea,” he confirmed.

“Since our consumers prefer ‘selfdrinking tea’ (tea without milk and sugar), we have advised producers here to offer teas whose liquor will have more colour, stronger body and higher flavour. We pay good prices for quality teas. Price is not the only factor that determines our intake,” he disclosed.

“We produce Masala chai that is drunk with milk and honey. We have been importing Nilgiri tea for 13 years, but this is my first visit here. Arising from this, we plan to import 30 to 40 percent more tea from here,” said John Simmons, president, Third Street Chai.

Meltdown helps industry
GLOBAL economic recession has done some good for tea, much to the delight of Nilgiris producers! “Since tea is cheaper than coffee, many consumers in the US have switched over to tea due to recession.
In the current fiscal ending this month, there has been mentionable increase in useful enquiries for tea from the US, compared to last year. Similar impact has been felt in our shipments to Europe,” said K Gopal Krishnan, director, Glendale Estate.

“The visiting US-Canada importers’ team has left hopes with us for increased shipments to those countries next fiscal. We have all the varieties of teas these importers have been seeking, he told Express.

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