Special scheme to boost tea exports

KOLKATA: A special scheme to boost India's declining tea exports, especially in markets like Russia, the CIS and West Asia is likely. The scheme may be mounted through a joint effort of the tea industry and trade who will partner the government.

Indicating this at the ongoing India Tea Festival at Abu Dhabi, the Chairman of Indian Tea Association, C. S. Bedi, said that there was considerable growth potential of these markets. Russia incidentally is the world's largest tea importer and India is now trying to regain its lost share by increasing its exports of orthodox teas in this erstwhile CTC tea market. India closed 2010 with a 2.4 per cent drop in exports over 2009. The event, the third in the series, is now considered ITA's signature event and it offers an opportunity to understand the nuances of the consumption and structure of these focussed markets, so that promotion programmes remain relevant and match the needs of the trade.

An ITA release said that the market targeted for this festival account for as much as 620 million kg of world tea imports, where India's share is around 130 million kg. Tea traders from Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Russia and Kazakhstan are participating in the festival whose venue has been chosen keeping in view the strategic location of UAE as a convergence point for the markets being targeted in this festival. Some 32 Indian producer-exporters and auctioneers are interacting with around 30 importers. A unique feature is the tea-tasting session which featured a display of teas of all-India including Assam, Dooars, Darjeeling and Nilgiris.