Calcutta, Oct. 27: The Tea Board has received a proposal from the Darjeeling Tea Association (DTA) to put in place a web-based system to monitor the end-to-end supply chain of the brew. This will ensure that only authentic Darjeeling tea is being exported.
The online system is expected to be in place from January. The Agricultural and Processed Foods Export Development Authority (Apeda) has rolled out a similar online traceability system, designed by Logicsoft, for organic food.
"We have given our proposal to the Tea Board and it has agreed to fund it. It will take at least three months to install. Through this, the entire supply chain will be monitored and accountability will be maintained," said S.S. Bagaria, chairman of DTA.
In a recent discussion on geographical indication (GI) in Germany, it was decided that only 100 per cent authentic Darjeeling tea will be referred to by that name. Geographical indication is the patented brand name that carries the name of the place where a product is made.
At present, tea exporters from Darjeeling are required to collect a certificate of origin from the DTA for their consignments. For this, they have to provide details up to the farm level. If the tea is bought from auctions, the sale invoice has to be provided along with documents from the auctioneer.
"At present, the DTA does the monitoring on behalf of the Tea Board offline. It is important that it be made online as then people anywhere in the world can submit and access the required data. The company that will design it already has given traceability solutions to the central government for other projects. This will help the front-end along with providing back-end support whereby importers may also have to submit data on the quantity of imports and re-sale," said Kaushik Basu, secretary of the DTA.
At present, documents reach the DTA via e-mails or hard copies. An Internet-based system will help plug the irregularities and the time lag.