Which was the first GI Tag in India?
“Which was the first item in West Bengal that got a GI tag?”
Answer: Darjeeling Tea (West Bengal)
- Darjeeling Tea holds the distinction of being the first Indian product to receive the GI tag, receiving recognition in 2004 for its exceptional qualities.
- Tea cultivation began in Darjeeling in the mid-1800s as the British sought an alternative to Chinese tea.
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- Both assamica and sinensis varieties were planted, but sinensis proved more suitable due to the region’s climate.
- The majority of workers on the tea plantations were Gorkhas and Lepchas from Nepal and Sikkim.
- Post-independence, the tea estates were sold to Indian businesses and regulated under Indian laws.
- The Soviet Union was initially the primary consumer of Darjeeling tea.
- Darjeeling tea gained a reputation for its distinctiveness and quality.
- The market expanded to Western Europe, prompting many estates to acquire organic, biodynamic, and Fairtrade certifications.
- The Tea Board of India (Headquarters: Kolkata) played a role in authenticating and globally promoting Darjeeling teas.
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