The Telegraph
Friday , January 4 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Tea exports take a hit

Calcutta, Jan. 3: Tea exports from India fell 15.29 per cent to 125.69 million kg in the January-September period of 2012 against 148.38 million kg in the same period the previous year.

Exports to CIS countries such as Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine declined 11 per cent to 37.97 million kg in the first nine months against 42.65 million kg in the year-ago period, latest data by the Tea Board showed. Demand from Iran fell 25 per cent to 7.61 million kg against 10.15 million kg in 2011.

Germany, Netherlands and Afghanistan were among those countries which saw a marginal growth in exports, while shipments to Kenya remained flat at 2.22 million kg.

“Iran is still showing negative patterns. This is a concern. Tea no longer figures on its priority list of tradable items. Trade has become expensive as exchange rate problems persist,” said Sujit Patra, joint secretary, the Indian Tea Association.

Erratic weather pulled down production in 2012, which was also hit by currency volatility, gloomy economic conditions and falling demand.

“World economic conditions have not been conducive either. Despite lower volume exports, the unit price realisation has gone up. There was good demand for quality tea,” Patra said.

Exports to Pakistan during January-September dipped 12.25 per cent to 14.85 million kg against 16.97 million kg in the previous year. Demand from Sri Lanka shrunk 60.19 per cent to 1.25 million kg.

The Pakistan Tea Association signed a memorandum of understanding in April last year with the Indian Tea Association to double imports from India to 50 million kg by 2015. Pakistan largely imports cheaper CTCs from south India.

During the period, north India exported 74.02 million kg (81.63 million kg previous year), while south India contributed 51.67 million kg (66.8 million kg).