India's tea exporters focus on Chinese market

Friday, 14 December 2018, 06:16 Hrs
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India's tea export to neighbouring China is expected to touch 15 million kg (mkg) by the end of next calendar year, an official said on Thursday.

India exported 7.76 million kg of tea to China, valued at around Rs 135 crore during January-October period as compared to 6.5 million kg in the year-ago period.

"China imports close to 30 million kg of tea annually, a major share of which comes from Sri Lanka. This is because they keep organising frequent trade delegations. If we can be more active and take concerted efforts then we should be able to export close to 15 million kgs of tea to China by December 2019," Indian Tea Association (ITA) Chairman Vivek Goenka said.

Indian experters could take advantage of changing consumption pattern in China, with a rising preference for CTC, he said after signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China Tea Marketing Association (CTMA), an apex tea association on Thursday.

The tie-up is to collaborate towards ensuring sustainability of tea industry globally and promoting black and green teas in international markets.

India exported close to 240 million kgs of tea in 2017. Russia, UAE, UK and Iran are some of the major markets for imports of Indian teas.

Orthodox and Darjeeling tea account for a major share of total exports to China while CTC is also gaining share in a big way.

India produces mostly CTC, with orthodox accounting for close to 10 per cent of the country's total production of around 1,278.83 million kg in 2017.

The partnership would also explore possibilities of technological innovation in tea manufacturing and retail, he said.

"Through this partnership, we are looking to promote black and green teas globally by organising joint events and present before consumers the tea culture by giving them an understanding of quality and varieties of tea," Goenka said.

By introducing several value added products, the neighbouring country did a lot of 'interesting work' in tea retailing, he said, adding that they went for mechanisation not just in factory but also on field.

"We are looking at the mechanisation to help bring down costs but we have to be careful not to compromise on quality," he said.

ITA is hopeful that the MoU would be useful in removing trade hindrances between two countries.

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