Jan.-July tea export volumes rise 4.6%
Notwithstanding the loss of exports on account of the prolonged closure of the Darjeeling tea estates, India’s tea exports have increased 4.6% by volume in the first seven months of 2017, statistics showed.
Interestingly, two countries where Indian teas made major inroads were China and Sri Lanka — among India’s top rivals in the global tea arena. Exports increased 150% to the island nation and by 71% to China according to Tea Board statistics. “We hope to maintain the trend,” S. Soundararajan, secretary at the Board told The Hindu .
Total exports stood at 121.1 million kg in January-July 2017, against 115.8 million kg a year earlier. India exported 227 million kg last year.
The more than 90-day closure of the Darjeeling tea industry by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, which is demanding a separate state, has harmed the interests of the premium and speciality teas but has not hampered India’s overall tea exports, either by volume or by value.
Darjeeling produces about 8 million kg annually, of which about 6 million kg is exported. Production between January and June, in the 87 tea estates in Darjeeling halved from 4.1 million kg a year earlier to 2.1 million kg. No export figures are available, but exporters are facing order cancellations, enquiries revealed.
Three countries have played a prominent role in the current year’s export scenario — China, Sri Lanka and Egypt. An erstwhile green-tea consumer and producer, China has, of late, taken to black tea production, of which there is increased demand from the youth segment. Sri Lanka has increased imports of Indian tea for blending, it was learnt.
Egypt’s imports rise
Egypt, a traditional market for Indian teas has almost doubled its imports in the period. India has also seen a rise in exports to Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Taken with Russia, the CIS region is India’s single-largest block for tea exports.
The Tea Board has facilitated several international expositions and delegations this year. While there was a delegation to Moscow this month, there were two delegations to the U.S. and to Chile in June.