Half of Darjeeling’s tea plantations put up for sale amid financial crisis

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Planters, young and old, are reluctant to resell it at a good price. Small planters, owners of individual properties, are more inclined to sell their gardens, while large groups are resistant to the idea, according to planters in the region.

Representative image. News 18

More than half of Darjeeling’s hillside tea plantations are up for sale as growers are unable to run smooth operations in the absence of international buyers. Once known as the pearl of the tea industry in India, the tea estates made money from customers coming from Europe and Japan. These buyers contributed substantially to the tea growers’ income.

Europe has restricted purchases

Europe, shrouded in the clouds of recession, has limited its purchases, despite being one of the main exporters of Darjeeling tea. Japan, on the other hand, has had a stunted purchase rate since 2017. The reason for the drop in purchases was unrest in the hills of Darjeeling which caused operations to be halted for four months. Their skepticism about supply issues persists.

“Darjeeling industry is going through a financial crisis”

Addressing the current crisis in the Darjeeling tea industry, Anshuman Kanoria, planter and Chairman of the Tea Exporters Association of India (ITEA), in an interview with The economic period, said: “Darjeeling industry is going through a financial crisis. Nearly 40 to 50% of gardens are looking for buyers. If they get fair prices, they will sell them. It becomes difficult for them to run the show.

Planters, young and old, are reluctant to resell it at a good price. Small planters, owners of individual properties, are more inclined to sell their gardens, while large groups are resistant to the idea, according to planters in the region.

Local real estate players in the front line of buyers

There are a total of 87 estates in Darjeeling. Local real estate players are in the front line of buyers. These players plan to convert the lands into resorts and start tea tourism in these lands.

According to the data, the Darjeeling tea industry produced about 11 million kilograms of tea about 10 years ago. More recently, in 2021, the industry experienced a substantial decline, bringing production to 6.7 million kilograms. The industry, which now rests on weak foundations, would have 55,000 permanent workers.

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