Tea producers complain about extra paperwork for exportsNepali tea producers have complained that their growth prospects have been hurt by new provisions on quality test certification issued by India’s Central Food Laboratory and strict pesticide checks by third countries.
Nepali tea producers have complained that their growth prospects have been hurt by new provisions on quality test certification issued by India’s Central Food Laboratory and strict pesticide checks by third countries.
According to government officials and traders, exporters now have to obtain quality test certification from an Indian laboratory each time they ship tea to India.
Previously, Nepali tea exporters were allowed to conduct trade with multiple parties after receiving a quality check certificate valid for six months. “Now, Nepali exporters have to obtain quality certificates from an Indian laboratory for each shipment and importer,” said Sheshkanta Gautam, executive director of the Nepal Tea and Coffee Development Board.
He added that he had informed the Nepali Consul General in Kolkata about the problem and requested him to look into it.
According to Kumar Mainali of Himalayan Shangri-la Tea Producers of Ilam, each quality certificate costs around Rs70,000 which is too much for small factories that export 1,000 to 2000 kg at a time. There are many small tea factories in the country, and they are having a very hard time, he said.
Official data shows that Nepal exported tea worth Rs1.45 billion in the first nine months of the fiscal year 2015-16. The government has included tea in the list of 12 high potential products under the National Trade Integration Strategy (NTIS).
Meanwhile, the strict pesticide regime adopted by the developed countries has also worried Nepali tea producers. “As Nepali tea farms usually use pesticides, it has been difficult to observe the strict pesticide-free regime adopted by the developed countries,” said Mainali.
According to the Tea and Coffee Development Board, the government has displayed apathy in facilitating trade through a central auction centre despite listing tea as a high export potential product.
“The government’s budget statement has ignored the issue of trading tea through an auction centre,” a source at the board said.
Nepal’s total tea production has nearly doubled over the last decade, from 1,260 tonnes in 2004-05 to 2,318 tonnes presently. There are 14,898 small tea producers who grow tea on 11,569 hectares.