Tea exports from South India up 9.44 pc on overseas demand

Shipments of the brew stood at 4.87 million kg in the corresponding period of the previous year, according to the latest Tea Board data.

"Exports from South India have grown in February owing to some demand from the overseas market, due to problem in some tea producing countries in Africa," United Planters Association of South India (UPASI) Secretary General Ullas Menon told PTI.

South India's overseas tea export destinations generally include Egypt, Pakistan, Middle East and Russia, he added. According to experts, tea production in Kenya - one of the largest producers and exporters of tea - in February 2011 fell due to hot and dry weather conditions in the main Rift Valley producing areas.

"There has been a fall in production in major tea producing countries in Africa and a slight drop in Sri Lanka," UPASI Commodities Head R Sanjith told PTI. Similarly, tea output in Tanzania, Africa's fourth biggest grower of the leaf, will be less than the target for 2010-11 after a drought cut yields, experts added.

"December, January and February are the quality tea growing months in south and production is round the year activity here, plus with a slight fall in global production this time our export figures went up," Sanjith said. Low crop in North India coupled with quality season in South India and a marginal drop in output in tea producing areas abroad, led to the rise is exports here, he added.

In the first two months of the current year, tea exports from South India rose by 4.35 per cent to 11.73 million kg compared to 11.24 million kg in the year-ago period, Tea Board data said.

"We had exported over 90 million kg of tea in the 2010 calendar year, which was a good figure for us and we expect to reach the 100 million kg mark in the next 1-2 years," Menon noted. Tea exports in the 2010 calendar year had touched 90.81 million kg, while in FY 10, shipments of the cuppa were 90.84 million kg, according to the Tea Board data.

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