Massive Indian campaign to recapture Russian tea market

Sunday, 27 October 2002, 07:00 Hrs
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MOSCOW: India has launched a $1 million campaign in Russia to rebuild the image of its tea that has taken a serious beating over the years and recapture its position as leader in the beverage's market.

Tea Board of India launched the program at a glittering function in the Radisson-Slavyanskaya Hotel here in the presence of a large number of officials from both countries.

Tea importers and representatives of leading advertisement agencies in Russia and Indian exporters and opinion makers were present at the launch aimed at, what Tea Board chairman B.N. Dash said, halting the declining fortunes of tea from India in Russia, a key destination for the beverage for decades.

India has planned concrete steps to rebuild its tea's image in Russia, including a massive advertisement campaign through the nationwide television network, national and FM radio stations and popular Russian magazines, he said.

Dash said the Indian government had made a detailed survey of Russia's tea market with the help of the international marketing company Accenture and would use its recommendations for regaining lost ground in the country.

"That India has earmarked $1 million, which is almost one-tenth of the total tea advertisement market, shows our seriousness of intention to rebuild the image of Indian tea in Russia," Dash said.

A new logo under the title "World's Gold Standard", issued by Tea Board of India, would ensure that the tea is genuine.

India has also planned measures to check quality before tea consignments leave the country.

"The Russian market is very important for us. We will leave no stone unturned to re-establish our leading position in this market," Dash said.

Indian tea exports to Russia declined from 89 million kg in 1997 to 64 million kg last year. Tea exports to Russia this year show a sharp downward trend.

Huge amounts of substandard tea, imported from Indonesia, Vietnam, Argentina, Bangladesh and other countries, sold under the Indian brand has done immense damage to the tea's reputation in the eyes of Russian consumers, said T.K. Chakravorty, resident director of the Tea Board of India here.

"Unscrupulous Indian exporters have done no less harm to our tea by supplying substandard tea to Russia over last few years," he said, adding the objective behind the campaign was to regain the lost ground in Russia.

Indian Ambassador K. Raghunath said tea, which is part of our joint culture, constitutes a major item in India's export basket. "India will make determined efforts to get back our last position in Russian market.

"India will ensure export of quality tea to Russia through number of concrete measures like issuing quality certificates and a new logo certifying that it is genuine."

Source: IANS
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