KOLKATA: For the first time in the world, an effort has been made to establish a sustainability code for Indian tea conforming to food safety standards, Tea Boardchairman M G V K Bhanu said on Wednesday.
"This is the first time in the world that an effort has been made to establish a sustainability code," Bhanu told a programme of 'India Sustainable Tea Program' here.
Stating that it was a new initiative, Bhanu said that it sought to sustainably transform the Indian tea industry over the next five years in close partnership with stakeholders.
"We will implement this code in North Bengal, including Darjeeling, Assam and South India. We are trying to convert existing producers to the new code," he said, adding that around Rs 18 crore was invested in the initiative.
"We are aiming at increasing the value of tea through betterment of quality rather than volume. This initiative is the most positive and most progressive ever," the Tea Board chairman said.
He said that in the context of today's world being characterised by mass consumption, a dwindling supply of oil and other resources, the need to embrace sustainability became more and more important.
Stating that certain quality issues have cropped up in recent years, he said "If the tea does not conform to food safety standards, the exporter or importer will be tagged as 'exporters/importers under warning' something which was absolutely undesirable."
The 'India Sustainable Tea Program' was jointly organised by The Sustainable Trade Initiative, The Netherlands-based Solidaridad, Rainforest Alliance and Tea Board of India, with the support of Hindustan UnileverBSE 0.10 % Ltd.