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The aroma and the muscatel flavour of Darjeeling tea have earned it the accolade of “champagne of teas”. But climate change and other factors such as labour unrest are taking a heavy toll on its production, which has fallen to 7.8 million kilogram in 2019 from 11.29 million kilogram in 1994.
Sixty-five-year-old Binod Mohan has spent most of his life in Darjeeling but never seen hailstorms in December in the Queen of Hills. A planter for more than 35 years, Mohan was bewildered when he witnessed snow in the lower-elevation gardens. “Last month I was in Darjeeling. I had woken up in the morning. As I opened the window, I found be tweaked to address the impact of climate change. Darjeeling tea planters are closely working with DTR&DC, Kurseong, and the Tea Research Association, Tocklai (Assam), to develop tea clones which would be able to withstand the challenges of climate change. “We are constantly working on clones to improve the productivity of the Darjeeling tea industry,” says Sannigrahi.
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