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Coffee and Tea Reports from the Front Lines

India shares spotlight at Global Dubai Tea Forum 2008

India shared the spotlight at the second Global Dubai Tea Forum, organized by Dubai Tea Trading Centre (DTTC), from February 19-20, 2008. DTTC announced that two unique events during the forum would familiarize the trade and consumers with the quality attributes of both Darjeeling and South Indian teas.

The Global Dubai Tea Forum’s Darjeeling tea tasting provided an insight to the special characteristics of the featured teas. The United Planters Association of Southern India and the Tea Board of India hosted the fourth Golden Leaf India Awards: Southern Tea Competition (TGLIA-STC), to acknowledge the taste and quality of 60 varieties of Southern Indian teas.

“With Dubai and DTTC’s fast-growing recognition as an emerging hub for the global tea trade, our biennial forum has generated an extremely strong response from international tea-producing, trading and consuming communities,” said Sanjay Sethi, Head of DTTC. “In addition to facilitating networking and business development opportunities for members of the trade, events such as the Golden Leaf India Awards and Darjeeling tea tasting session underline DTTC’s commitment to raising awareness of the industry towards driving global appreciation of different varieties of tea. We look forward to working closely with the Tea Board of India to make these dedicated events a success.”

Mrs. Priya Kumar, director of tea promotion, Tea Board of India, said: “The West Asia-North Africa region, of which Dubai is an important trading hub, is a major market for Indian teas, and more than 35% of India’s total tea exports are to this region. We are now looking towards promoting the higher-end and value-added teas in this market. We feel that the Global Dubai Tea Forum is the apt platform for the same as a cross-section of the global tea trade would be present here. Two special events are being organized by the Tea Board of India along with the Darjeeling Tea Association and the United Planters Association of Southern India, to familiarize the trade and consumers with the quality attributes of some of our best teas from Darjeeling and South India. We also propose to make available to the consumer, some of the best brands of Darjeeling tea through an in-store promotion to be held in Dubai in March 2008.”

The South Indian teas were showcased through a tea competition. The best estates of South India participated and an international jury of eight expert tea tasters selected the winning teas.

The competition for the fourth Golden Leaf India Awards showcased the different agro-climatic origins of South Indian teas and their unmatched quality characteristics. The teas are evaluated on their dry leaf appearance, infused leaf appearance and liquor parameters (color, strength, taste/flavor and briskness.)

The second Global Dubai Tea Forum 2008 was held from February 19-20, 2008, at the Hyatt Regency in Dubai.

The Dubai Tea Trading Centre (DTTC) is an initiative of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, a strategic government initiative. DTTC is situated close to Dubai’s Ports and offers business centre, storage and blending solutions for international tea producers and buyers. DTTC members include tea producers, exporters, regional importers and international merchants. DTTC’s current location is at an existing warehouse facility within the Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA).

GMO Decision Outrages Kona Farmers

Senator Tokuda (D-Kailua-Kaneohe), Chair of the House Committee on Agriculture and Hawaiian Affairs decided not to support, or provide a committee hearing on HB 1577O, which would place a moratorium on field trials for genetically modified coffee. Instead she is asking for a study to “develop policies that best serve the needs of our agricultural community.”

The Hawaii County Council unanimously passed a resolution urging the State Legislature to pass this legislation. “It is deeply disappointing that once again the State Legislature overrides the wisdom of our county leaders and the requests of Kona Coffee Farmers,” said Bruce Corker, president of the Kona Coffee Farmers Association. “It is troubling that the Legislative leadership has killed both the GMO moratorium and the coffee truth-in-labeling bills in the back room, rather than permitting testimony from Big Island farmers in the open and democratic forum provided by committee hearings.”

“We respect the right of scientists to do research, but perhaps they could apply their efforts to ridding us of the coffee twig borer which is having a significant and detrimental impact on Kona Coffee,” said Corker.

“This Bill was backed by the entire Hawaii coffee industry yet our representatives ignore us. What do we need to do to get effective Agricultural legislation to protect what we are doing right now, in the fields,” said Cecelia Smith of the KCFA.”

Tea & Coffee - March, 2008

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