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Indian tea gets trade boost in US

Siliguri, July 7: The World Tea Expo held in the US in June turned out to be an effective platform for Indian exporters to exhibit and promote different varieties of Indian tea among connoisseurs of the brew.

Indian tea firms, which had taken part in the three-day event in Las Vegas, said they could manage to bag orders ranging from Rs 3 crore to Rs 5 crore from buyers in the US and some other countries. The orders were in addition to the usual quantity of tea exported by the Indian companies.

“The turnout at the Indian pavilion was good. So were the demands for Indian tea. A number of orders flowed in to the Indian companies — a shift from China where tea prices went up by around 40 per cent in the past two years,” said Ankit Lochan, who represented the Siliguri-based Lochan Tea Limited at the expo.

“The CTC tea of Assam, the Dooars and the Terai were a big hit at the show, along with the usual stuff like Darjeeling tea. People also made a beeline for the Indian stalls to taste herbal and ayurvedic tea,” he said.

The expo is being organised by the SFG Group LLC, a Nevada-based event management company, since 2003. “It is considered the largest event for the $11 billion world tea industry to showcase its various products. This year’s expo was held on June 24, 25 and 26. Industry professionals from across the world meet each other, release new products, augment their export and obtain knowledge on different varieties of tea,” said an exporter who had just returned from Las Vegas.

Elaborating on the financial benefits from the expo, Lochan said: “We could successfully bag orders for a couple of containers of mixed tea, ranging from masala chai to ayurvedic blends, including Indian spice tea. Orders of Rs 3 crore to Rs 5 crore were received in total by the export houses which had put up stalls at the event.”

According to the exporters, considering the prices of tea sold to the US, a container that carries 15,000kg of tea is valued around Rs 40-50 lakh. “When we speak of an order of Rs 3 crore to Rs 5 crore, it means an additional export of 1.05 lakh kg to 1.80 lakh kg of Indian tea,” said an exporter.

Jay Shree Tea & Industries Limited, Chamong Group, Glenburn Group and Girnar Tea Industries were the other Indian companies which had put up stalls in Las Vegas, along with the Tea Board of India.

A Tea Board official expressed hope that such forums could expand the international market and augment the export of Indian tea.

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