Next time, when you drink your favourite black tea, it would come with a quality certification.
India's apex agency for quality standards - the Bureau of Indian Standards - has issued the first licence for black tea in the country.
The first such certificate has gone to Kanan Devan Hill Produce Company Pvt Ltd, Munnar in Kerala. Kannan Devan, one of the largest tea estates owned by Tata Tea is these days run by an employees co-operative in Munnar.
BIS officials said the quality certification mark immensely boost the export potential of black tea from India, especially during these days of falling domestic prices of tea.
As per the certification, Kanan Devan can now use the BIS certification licence to use the popular ISI Mark on its products.
BIS certification is recognised globally.
BIS Director General Alka Sirohi said that globally, the quality certification from BIS is a well-accepted standard. "Consumers have confidence in our certification. It has the potential for boosting trade of any ISI-marked commodity, in this case, the black tea," she told Commodity Online.
Sirohi said BIS has begun the process on black tea. "We are willing to certify more tea companies which are willing to adhere to the norms," she added.
The licence to Kanan Devan Hill has been granted in accordance with the Indian Standard IS 3633:2003 (specification for black tea). This standard specifies the quality requirements of black tea, interalia includes tea testing, chemical requirements, limits on pesticide residues and heavy metals.
As per the price stabilisation fund trust under the Union commerce ministry, tea growers need support as the domestic price situation of the commodity in 2006 was not very remunerative.
The PSFT has announced the price spectrum band for the year 2006 for rubber, coffee and tea. The price spectrum band for each commodity has been calculated on the basis of seven years' moving average of international price for the commodity.
The annual average domestic price for tea was Rs 63.62 per kg during 2006 and it has been categorised as a "normal year" for tea. On the basis of price spectrum band 2006, 14928 tea growers would receive financial assistance of Rs 74.64 lakh from the PSFT during 2007-08.