India wants Russia to be major importer of Darjeeling tea, like it was back in the USSR

The tea producers in India’s Darjeeling municipality would love Russia to become their key importing customer again, Darjeeling Tea Association Principal Advisor Sandeep Mukherjee told TASS.

“We sincerely look forward… We prefer Russia to our domestic market,” Mukherjee said.

Nearly 75-80% of Darjeeling tea was exported to the USSR before its collapse in 1991, the official said, adding “At that point of time Darjeeling used to produce around 14 million kg of tea per year.”

He explained that “After the USSR broke up the export of tea nearly stopped and the next three-four years the Darjeeling tea industry went through difficult times. During that period between 1991 and 1995 a lot of tea gardens closed, many people became unemployed and the production of tea dropped to 11 million kg.”

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Since 1995, Darjeeling, which is one of the most renowned tea producing states in India, boosted exports to new customers in the US, Germany, France, and Japan.

According to Mukherjee, Russia currently reexports Darjeeling tea from Europe. “From Darjeeling it goes to Germany, from Germany it is reexported to the Czech Republic and from there it goes to Moscow,” he said.

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