• Darjeeling unrest threatens tea supply

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    DARJEELING, India: The world faces a shortage of prized Darjeeling tea because of deadly unrest in the idyllic Indian Himalayan foothills where it is grown. In the dozens of lush green plantations across the picturesque hill station, the June-August harvest season normally provides the bulk of the nearly eight million kilos of tea sold a year—most of which goes to Europe. But with a showdown between native Gorkas, who provide the majority of plantation workers, and the West Bengal government now 50 days old, production fell by 90 percent in June. Tourism has also been badly hit by the dispute in which the main Gorka group has halted harvesting and called for a shutdown of the tea industry. Tea Board India, the government regulatory body, said only 140,000 kilograms (154 US tons) of tea was produced in June, a plunge from 1.33 million kilos in the same month last year. The history and distinctive taste have made Darjeeling one of the world’s most recognized food names.

    AFP

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