Tocklai Research Institute Releases New Seed Variety


New seed stock from the Tocklai Tea Research Institute

Tocklai Tea Research Institute (TTIS) released a seed variety named TS560, which the scientists at the world’s oldest tea research station said is a gift to Darjeeling even as production of tea is likely to be lower by 15-30 percent next year in the hill district as tea estates remain shut due to indefinite strike for a separate Gorkhaland.

“The new seed variety is a gift for Darjeeling from Tocklai,” the director of TTRI, A.K. Barooah said while releasing the new seed variety during the 53rd annual general meeting of Tea Research Association, the governing body of Tocklai, here.

This was after 26 years that Tocklai has prepared this special seed variety for Darjeeling.

The new seed variety has been prepared from parents AV2 and Phoobsiring 312, which are existing popular Darjeeling clones following years of experiments and research.

“We are hopeful that the new seed variety would bring added cheers to the Darjeeling cup of tea which is known worldwide for its flavor,” the TTRI director said.

The 87 tea estates of Darjeeling produce 8.5¬9 million kilograms of teas a year, a bulk of which is exported to UK, Germany, Japan, the USA and other parts of the world.

However, this year exports of second flush premium Darjeeling tea has been severely affected due to the strike initiated by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha since June 9. All the gardens have remained closed since then.

Industry experts told World Tea News that if the tea gardens in Darjeeling do now reopen soon there would be huge impact on production next year and subsequently on exports.

“With no maintenance tea bushes are growing wild and leaves have grown longer so even if production were to resume soon, it will be of little use. It would be a difficult task to rejuvenate the tea bushes,” a Tea Board of India official said.