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Tea exports to regain lost flavour

Looking forward

Calcutta, Feb. 27: Tea exporters are looking to regain the lost markets in west and central Asian countries such as Iraq, Syria, Libya and Kazakhstan, where exports have fallen prey to political vulnerabilities.

“A detailed road map will be developed in the coming months. We would like to grow in new geographies and regain lost market share in countries such as Libya, Iraq, Syria and Kazakhstan. We are open to all ideas,” said Binod Kr. Bansal, chairman of the newly formed Indian Tea Exporters’ Association (ITEA).

India exported 6.75 million kg tea to Kazakhstan between January and September last year at Rs 202.46 per kg against 8.70 million kg in the year-ago period, data available with the Tea Board revealed.

During the same period, there was no export to Iraq against 0.05 million kg in 2012. Figures for Syria and Libya were not available.

Libya, Syria and Iraq are considered to be good orthodox tea markets, while Kazakhstan buys mostly the crush, tear, curl (CTC) variety.

“We recognise the need to increase the unit value of tea exports and treat the Western and developed markets with equal importance,” he said.

The ITEA is a registered body formed under section 25 of the companies act. It was inaugurated on February 20.

According to industry sources, there has been less government buying in Iraq with the country engaged in internal political disruptions. Bansal said efforts would be taken to send a delegation to Iraq soon.

“We are targeting Iraq immediately. We increased our exports to Iran. If we had maintained the same in Iraq, Libya and Syria, exports would have been more that the 200-million-kg export mark that we achieve,” Bansal said.

India has doubled its shipments to Iran to 16.47 million kg during January-September 2013 from 8.48 million kg during the same period the previous year despite a slack in business because of the US sanctions on the country.

Total tea export during 2013 calender year is estimated to be 211.86 million kg against 208.26 million kg in 2012.

 
 
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