India's tea exports decline in 2010

According to data released by Tea Board, India had achieved 198 million kg tea exports in 2009. "Tea exports have fallen this time as a result of lower production, particularly of the premium Assam variety, and subdued demand from major importing countries," Indian Tea Association Joint Secretary Sujit Patra told PTI.

Former Tea Board Chairman Basudeb Banerjee in November last year had said the Board has set 200 million kg export target for 2010. India's tea output declined by 1.3 per cent to 966.4 million kg in 2010 against 979 million kg in the year-ago period due to a drop in output in Assam, which produces more than half of country's total tea production due to adverse weather and pest attacks.

In 2008, India's tea exports went well passed 200 million kg. The fall in exports is indicative of its losing ground to other major producers like Sri Lanka for the orthodox variety and Kenya for CTC tea.

Even, new entrants in the world export markets like, Vietnam and Indonesia are giving Indian tea a run for the money. Meanwhile, exports of tea from India to Pakistan is on the rise and that too by a phenomenal margin.

In 2010, India registered exports of 20 million kg tea to Pakistan from just around 5-6 million kg a year-ago. "In Russia also, our exports are rising. This time we are expecting to export about 40-45 million kg. Besides, exports to Iran is also set to be 15 million kg," Patra said.

He said the production in the current year is likely to increase compared to last year. "Though exports have fallen in 2010, but with rise in exports to Russia, Pakistan and Iran, I think we will get good results in the current year," Patra added.

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